javascript:; Chicago Department of Public Health, Physicians Back Coal Tar Sealant Action in Nation's Third Largest City | Coal Tar Free America

Since last week, two influential medical groups wrote letters urging action be taken on the use of coal tar sealants in Chicago.  Last Friday, Dr. Cortland Lohff, Medical Director for Environment Health at the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), delivered a letter supporting some kind of reduction in the use of this toxic product at the Finance Committee of Chicago's City Council.

The CDPH stated that "research warrants the attention of policy makers and it provides a solid evidence base for the proposed ban...."  The letter goes on to say that "USGS is not alone in its concern" regarding pavement sealants and that other researches find that "PAH exposure should be a matter of public health concern."  These studies "underscore our rapid and emerging awareness of a need for policy makers to develop policy regarding the sale and use of coal tar."

Also last week the Chicago Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility (CPSR) sent a letter to Finance Committee members urging the passage of a ban of coal tar pavement sealants. The letter was signed by Drs. Susan Buchanan, MD, MPH, Asst. Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and the Director of the Great Lakes Center for Children's Environmental Health as well as Sarah Lovinger, MA, MD, Executive Director, Chicago chapter, Physicians for Social Responsibility.

The CPSR said that "as physicians concerned about children's health, we are asking for your support of this amendment." The doctors also cited the vulnerability of children to PAH pollution and the exposure of many urban poor that may depend upon subsistence fishing in polluted urban streams to supplement their diets.

No vote was taken at the Finance Committee meeting last Friday, but it is anticipated that industry representatives will weigh in at some time in the future.

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