javascript:; USA TODAY: America Near Tipping Point on Coal Tar Sealant Use? | Coal Tar Free America

USA TODAY, the nation's second highest daily circulation newspaper, informed more people about coal tar sealant pollution with its current edition than any newspaper to date.  Its publication on Father's Day was perhaps an ironic nod to the many fathers who have faithfully sealed their own driveways unknowingly with toxic coal tar sealers,  myself included.

There was a lot to like about this article.  For Lonnie Harris of West Suburban Asphalt Maintenance in Chicago: God bless you for boldly articulating your personal health effects experience in a way that was honest while recognizing the complexities of toxic exposures and the human body.  I hope your telephone rings off the hook with support and business.

The best quote was Nick Kelso's of Jet Black: "we're at a 'tipping point' in the movement against coal tar sealants."  With the quality and price of alternatives the market for coal tar sealcoats will continue to shrink.  He predicted the end of coal tar sealants within 10 years.  Let's hope he is right.


Leaders from the USGS, and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) weighed in on the veracity of their work.    "We have done rigorous, scientific surveys and analyses showing coal tar sealants are a major sources of PAHs in the environment," says Dr. Judy Crane, a water quality scientist at MPCA.  Studies with Missouri State University and the University of New Hampshire were also mentioned, but research has also been done at Southern Illinois University, the DuPage River/Salt Creek Working Group (suburban Chicago),  the City of Austin, Texas, the University of Toronto, Texas State University, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, New York Academy of Sciences, and this little research outfit called the Environmental Protection Agency.  None of these research groups give the slightest hint that coal tar sealers are not a problem.

The risk to a child exposed to coal tar sealant dust in the home is similar to second-hand smoke or about 1 in 10,000.  The below graph shows the exposures and risks along with typical EPA level of concern.

Speaking of smoking, the industry continued their cigarette-science defense by claiming flawed studies, conspiracies and small business harm.  The industry representative said that the production of coal tar sealants are being reduced by some amount because of a "hassle factor."  Sounds like a no-fault attempt to get out of the market.  Just stop selling a nasty product without admitting there is any problem with it and hope that everyone forgets you spread it across the nation.

Ban Legislation

The article discussed the "success" of the industry in blocking sealant legislation in several locations around the country.  These are merely momentary setbacks.  Many involved in legislative matters will tell you that it often takes more than one session to get a bill passed.

As more and more people learn the facts about coal tar sealants, bans will continue to rise.  In the last 3 years there has been an 8 fold increase in the number of US citizens under a ban while increasing from 2 million to over 16 million people.

Preventing, Testing and Removing Coal Tar Sealants

With a limited amount of column space, the news article briefly tells people what to do if they have coal tar sealants on their property.  The simple field test comprised of materials from a hardware store and was used with 100% accuracy by the USGS in one of their studies, can be found here.

How to remove coal tar sealant is detailed on this page and has been successfully used to remove coal tar sealants on several lots by the Washington, DC Department of the Environment.

Happy Father's Day America and may this time next year see millions more under a ban of this product!

Post a Comment

Not coal tar said... June 18, 2013 at 7:21 AM

PCTC's Anne LeHuray assertion that grilled hamburgers are more toxic than coal tar sealer seems ridiculous and and I don't think really helps her cause. I would really hate to have a job that required me to defend coal tar. Why not put your efforts to promoting the asphalt maintenance industry and the good it does using less toxic products. And how about the industry working harder to educate applicators about greener practices?