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Wanted: Public Comments on Proposed Canadian Regulation of Coal Tar Sealers

Comments Due August 10, 2016 to this link In early June the Canadian government issued a document detailing the review of coal tar and c...

Comments Due August 10, 2016 to this link

In early June the Canadian government issued a document detailing the review of coal tar and coal tar distillates. A summary document is shown at the end of this article. The document covered the following:

  • "risk management options under consideration for the coal tars and their distillates" and 
  • "is proposing to consider regulatory or non-regulatory initiatives that....would minimize the use of coal tar-based pavement sealants in order to minimize exposure to the general public and the environment."
There is a lot more to the assessment by Environment Canada, which may come at a later date. But for now, it is important to get this information out into the public for their comments to be received as well.

As with many things with coal tar sealers, this is the biggest news and appears to be totally unknown at least if the press and the internet are any indication. The sad fact is that it appears to be off the radar, at least in the public side of the web.

What is Known About Coal Tar Sealers in Canada?

We've covered research and activities about coal tar sealers for several years. Links to the articles written will follow, but here's a summary:
  1. The University of Toronto studied the use and prevalence of coal tar sealers in that city
  2. Canada is similar to the US when it comes to coal tar pavement sealers. Their use is commonplace.
  3. Canadian research has uncovered disturbing facts about coal tar sealers. Yet their actions, both personally and legislatively, generally have not caught with up with their understanding of the issue.
  4. Environment Canada was one of the first to discuss the water-soluble chemical family in coal tar called azaarenes. 
  5. It appears that one of the first decision-making bodies in Canada to voluntarily cease the use of coal tar sealers include Humber College (Toronto) and Redeemer University College (Ancaster, ON).
  6. A Montreal radio station (CJAD) interviewed me a few years ago to talk about the issue. Sorry that was their title for the segment, not mine.
A few years ago Environment Canada and the University of Toronto completed an analysis of coal tar sealant use in Ontario. 
Findings include:
  • Coal tar sealants (CTS) are available for commercial and retail users.
  • CTS coverage in the greater Toronto area is nearly 6 square miles (14 km2)!
  • Sealant scraping concentrations were somewhat lower than published data from Mahler et al. at the USGS (perhaps due to both mislabeling in Canada and non-coal tar lot contamination in the USGS sampling).
  • Large loss of PAH's due to volatilization during drying/curing. The USGS calculated that curing emissions from the annual use of coal tar sealers in the US surpass all annual  PAH emissions from motorized vehicles.
  • The average annual, estimated PAH load to surface water and soil is more than 7,000 pounds per year in Toronto.
  • A presentation of these findings can be found at this link:


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Coal Tar Free America: Wanted: Public Comments on Proposed Canadian Regulation of Coal Tar Sealers
Wanted: Public Comments on Proposed Canadian Regulation of Coal Tar Sealers
Coal Tar Free America
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