javascript:; Could This Be a Safer Alternative to Coal Tar Based Sealants? | Coal Tar Free America

A freshly sealed parking lot is generally an improvement to any property — but unless that property happens to be in one of a few places, that fresh coat of black sealant is likely potentially deadly.

The following article is republished from Construction Equipment Guide with permission. This permission is not an endorsement by Construction Equipment Guide of the opinions expressed on this website or the content therein.

For decades the only coating available was coal tar, a by-product of the refinery business that is applied by spray, squeegee or brush to asphalt macadam, said David Fackler, president of Asphalt Care Equipment Inc., headquartered in Bensalem, Pa.

“Coal tar has a product in it called benzopyrene,” Fackler said. “What that is, is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) that is the carcinogenic.

“In 2006, Austin, Texas, became the first county to put into place a ban on using coal tars. After Texas, there was a series of other areas that started to see the problems and river contaminations from coal tar and started to individually ban the coal tar use in their counties, districts and territories.”

Those other areas include parts of Washington, D.C., Minnesota, New York and three out of four counties in Maryland.

But it's not getting the attention on the wide basis warranted. That's in part because it's not a hot enough topic to win attention on the federal or even state levels, so it's up to local governments to take action.

“This is a problem in our industry that is not being addressed quickly enough,” Fackler said. “Also the manufacturers of coal tar will fight the banning of their own product. Understandably, but at what cost? They don't want to lose their business of selling their product. Coal tar works wonderfully. But the cost of using the product is greater than the results. The cost is the harm to the contractors putting it down. It affects kids playing in the parking lots. It will affect people tracking it into their carpet and having a carcinogen in their house. The risks don't outweigh the benefits in spite of the performance of coal tar.”

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