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First of all Happy Birthday Austin, Texas which today, 10 years ago, passed the nation"s first ban of coal tar pavement sealers.

To mark that occasion, here is a 2 minute cartoon-video which tries to summarize the highlights of what has happened in that 10 years. My apologies to some if I have not highlighted your research, writing or bans, but a lot had to be left on the cutting room floor including efforts I"ve been involved with personally.

It has been a good 10 years and I"m glad that 18 million Americans are currently under a ban. In the future I suspect knowledge of coal tar sealer pollution will move from the groundbreaking to the commonplace in our communities. And that will be a welcome day. Until then there is a lot of work to be done.

Why a cartoon?

A few years ago, someone challenged me to do a cartoon about coal tar sealers using PowToons. If you knew me you"d know that is not necessarily my go to medium if you know what I mean. But with a high degree of trust in that someone, here you go.








Do you want to provide REAL environmental benefits while FULLY considering the business impacts? 


This website often focuses on the human health and environmental reasons why a community or a business should end the use of coal tar sealers. But what about the business reasons for ending its use?

I know you"re busy so here are the top 5.

Just so you know, I"m not an environmentalist ranting about something to drive donations or sell a product. I am a former small business owner myself that had to deal with the complexities of regulations and the bottom line. You also might find it interesting that my family used coal tar in the roofing business over 4 generations and nearly 100 years.

In light of that, I ask you to please consider the following.

1. Lowes and Home Depot Stopped Selling Coal Tar Sealers Based Upon a Business Model

In 2007, I worked with the City of Austin team advising the New York Academy of Sciences on PAH pollution in the NY Harbor. At those meetings, the Chief Sustainability Officer for Lowes, Michael Chennard, said that they stopped selling coal tar sealants after learning about it from Austin, based upon a business model. Here"s the Lowes" equation:

1. Identify products that have a high potential liability. He said their pockets were now deeper than many of their suppliers, so they have more to lose.

2. Find out if there are suitable alternatives in quality and price.

3. If both the quality and prices are similar, then remove the problematic product from the shelves

If it isn"t good enough for Lowes and Home Depot, why is it good enough for your community or business? Who would continue to use a product that has a sound replacement and reduces liability?

2. Regulations are for Bad Actors, Not Good Ones

A few years ago it became apparent that a line of Samsonite luggage had high PAHs in the handles of their suitcases. What did they do? Deny it? Deflect the attention away from it?

No they tested their products and recalled 250,000 units and fixed the problem. No government intervention at all.

That is not what the coal tar industry has done. They have clearly demonstrated a lack of transparency and positive action to curb the exposure of the public and the environment to these toxins.

You can read more about it here:

3. The True Costs of Coal Tar Sealers are Less than the Benefits

The State of Minnesota estimated cost for the 3.3 million people in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area to clean up after coal tar sealer contamination was over $1 billion! The cost of cleaning it up is many times greater than the value of the installed product in the first place! 

Here"s another example. The City of Austin was encouraged by the State of Texas to clean up a small drainage swale which had been contaminated by coal tar sealers from a single apartment complex near Barton Springs Pool. The cost, complete with workers in moon suits because of the high PAH concentrations, was about $500,000! This was for a single parking lot drainage.

This does not include the cost of undesirable health outcomes (cancer, decreased fertility, poor birth weight and IQ caused by the chemicals which are in potent quantities in coal tar sealers).
A  said cancers from coal tar sealers likely affects a large number of Americans and they don"t even know it. 

Let"s talk about the cost of cancer. According to the , the nationwide cost of cancer is $900 billion dollars. The proportional cost, based solely on population, to a city like San Antonio would be $4.5 billion.

Wouldn"t business leaders want to reduce overall health and community costs?

4. Paving Experts Recommend Against Using Coal Tar Sealers

The liabilities of using coal tar sealers on commercial parking lots are so great that a guidance manual for commercial properties issued this warning in their hardback book, :




It also isn"t recommended for the longevity of an asphalt surface by the main proponents of asphalt paving, . It has been  to actually degrade asphalt by allowing moisture to build up between the two materials.



5. Prospects are Good for Sealer Industry in the US Even Without Coal Tar

A market research company recently confirmed what one CEO of a sealer company said a few years ago: bans really won’t hurt the sealcoat business.

In the projected period through 2024, the industry is expected to experience “moderate growth” but “rising bans on coal tar-based sealers, the improved performance of asphalt-based sealers, and competitive pricing are expected to result in the increased consumption of bitumen and asphalt sealers…”



Those are my top 5 business reasons for stopping the sale and use of coal tar sealers. Would any community or business need any more reasons?







Last night Edina, Minnesota, in spite of pressure from industry, passed a ban of coal tar pavement sealants.  With a population over 47,000 and the reputation of being one of the most affluent suburbs of Minneapolis, Edina"s ban will go into effect next week.  I"m getting behind on my tally of communites, which is a good thing!







Snowball by Deutsch used with permission
The inter-related aspects of coal tar sealant pollution were never more obvious than in the year 2013.  Research affected the press, which in turn mobilized citizens and legislators to act in a snowball-like fashion.  And the whole time industry tried in vain to melt the snowball as with a hair dryer by outrageous claims and faux research.  This is a review of some of the highlights of the major events of year, which was the 8th year since the nation"s first ban of coal tar sealants in Austin, Texas.

Most importantly, about 4 million more Americans are under coal tar sealant bans now than this time last year.

That is a 33% increase, where most could be attributed to the statewide ban in Minnesota.  Several other bans are under development that could dwarf that number.  Also, this site just surpassed 100,000 page views with web traffic that has doubled in the last 2 years and can be as much as 30 times more than the traffic was back in 2006.

This good news needs to be tempered with the fact that an avalanche of public outcry will be needed to eliminate this product from use, yet most Americans still have no idea of this issue.

While all of these aspects are related, it seems reasonable to summarize the highlights in these categories: Science, Press, Legislation, Citizen Action, and Industry Response.

SCIENCE

Early in the year, news emerged about the publication of the Baylor University/USGS research into the possible health effects of coal tar sealant dust exposure.  According to the primary researcher, Dr. Spencer Williams, "the increased cancer risk associated with coal-tar-sealed asphalt likely affects a large number of people in the U.S."  This is the first published, risk assessment of its kind and something that was suspected all along.  The below graphic, which was developed using the Baylor statistics shows that the risk to small children is especially high and in the "desired remediation" zone (red).  More can be read about this at:


Additional scientific research emerged from the Pennsylvania showing coal tar sealants can be a dominate source in ex-urban/rural US.  Also late in the year, Dr. Judy Crane published a lengthy PAH paper in on the sources of PAH pollution in urban stormwater ponds in Minnesota and the policy implications of those findings.  Look for a full review of this paper in January.

PRESS

Coverage expanded this year which enabled millions more to hear about this.  The press and social media that followed a was unprecedented.  Multiple media outlets around the nation and world covered it with headlines like , and .  Later in that same month, the demonstrated a pattern of exaggeration in the coal tar sealant industry"s research.

In June, USA TODAY, with the nation"s second largest number of subscribers, came out with a solid article entitled that detailed the dangers, what researchers are saying, and discussed the future of bans.  One applicator stated that he believed "we are at the tipping point in the movement away from the use of coal tar sealers."

In July NBC Nightly News prepared for a segment on coal tar pavement sealants.  It never aired.  I was reminded of a PBS radio segment several staff in Austin worked on in 2006 which also never aired.  So it goes the media.

The year did see several well-done, extended segments by local TV news stations in Ohio (), North Carolina () and  where one public health official said it"s not OK to use coal tar sealants "anytime, by anyone, anywhere."

One surprise media coverage came on the TV show , which had an entire segment to this issue.  The show has an audience of about 2 million viewers. Each of these news stories reaches a different demographic, all of which need to hear this message.

LEGISLATION
.
Minnesota"s ban was most notable and it is worth mentioning what Senator Bev Scalze said of the effort:
Yes, this is a great day in Minnesota when we have now banned the sale and application of coal tar sealant in Minnesota. Rep. Rick Hansen was the chief author in the Minnesota House of Representatives and I was the chief author in the Minnesota Senate of the bills, one of which made it through the process. Thanks to help from Representative Phyllis Kahn, Senator Richard Cohen and Senator Katie Sieben the language remained in the final Clean Water Legacy bill which was signed by Governor Dayton.
Additonal ban legislation efforts were started or continued in jurisdictions in New York, where it passed the Assembly by a wide, bipartisan majority; Maine, where it was narrowly defeated in the House of Representatives; Michigan, where it never got out of committee and Indiana, where the sponsor was unable to get traction for a study of the problem in the state.  A bit more detailed review of these efforts can be found .  A ban in New York alone would more than double the population under a ban in the US.

At a municipal level, the introduced a bill to ban coal tar sealants too.  It has been heard in committee, but it is uncertain when or if additional action will be taken.  One important development here is the written support of the head of the .  That may be a nod by the present mayor of support.

South Carolina saw its first ban of any type in Greenville and Springfield, Missouri continued to be poked and prodded by a former councilman, but did not take up the matter officially.

Nationally, Congressman Lloyd Doggett (TX) in April to phase out the use of coal tar sealants, but the bill was never heard in committee.  This coincided with Earth Day where the Congressman tweeted:
On let"s remember that we have a long way to go to ensure a better world for our kids & grandkids.
Amen to that.

Why do these bills fail to be heard?  While we can complain about lobbyists and special interests, the fact is that there is not enough public outcry over this common, everyday carcinogen to get many bills off dead center.

CITIZENS

Around the US, citizens are calling on their elected officials to do something about coal tar pavement sealants.  Every media story spurs more to ask their officials.  But to honest, we need more.

Notable among these is a petition that was started and signed by over 9,000 people for the nation to ban this product.  Here are some of the citizen responses:
This stuff is known to be very toxic, you want to live in it, move next to a refinery, stop dumping it on unsuspecting driveway etc owners
Mr. Wells Eddleman, NC

Allowing the use of this sealant is a blatant disrespect for the lives of our children and the health of our community. This must stop now!!! Congress needs to be responsible and hold companies responsible for their actions and ban the use of any known substances that cause harm to animal and human health! This is an OUTRAGE!
Ms. Dawn Drew, TX
 The smell of this is awful. I just had a terrible asthma attack yesterday from the smell of a truck going down the road. Ban this now for every ones health. I was on my way to the doctor when this happen, now I"m on meds to get my breathing back to normal.
Ms. Sandy Nichols, MI
 Please, do the right thing and ban coal tar pavement sealant permanently in all states! Our children"s health and futures are at stake here!
Ms. Susan Rose, AZ
This year also marked the advance of the citizen-scientist via the .  Chapters in New York City, Texas, Chicago and Maine have endorsed the reduction in the use of coal tar sealers for the health of humans, especially children.

 INDUSTRY RESPONSE

"Industry" is not a homogeneous group and that continued to be evident this year.  Perhaps it would be more succinct to differentiate Suppliers/Producers from Applicators.  The greatest amount of resistance comes from the Suppliers/Producers both in funding and advocacy, but many Applicators have demonstrated a willingness to move away from coal tar containing sealcoat products.

Earlier in the year, the Suppliers/Producers (as represented by the Pavement Coatings Technology Council) hosted a on how to save your business and stop bans from happening.  Some of the Applicators have told me that this rings of desperation and that most of the Applicators recognize the need to move to less toxic alternatives.

This year marked progress among applicators in at least 2 states, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Over 100 applicators from six Great Lakes States, but primarily form Wisconsin and Minnesota, pledged to no longer use coal tar sealers.  The efforts were highlighted by a series of webinars hosted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and recordings of these sessions are available .

2014 PREDICTIONS?

To make progress in the reduction of coal tar sealant use requires individuals and groups to go beyond business as usual.  If I could definitively answer the following questions, then I could predict EXACTLY how 2014 will go:
  • Will the media see this as a story that should continue to be told?  
  • Will additional research come to light which calculates the hazards of coal tar sealers and compels more news coverage?  
  • Will citizens have the conviction to step out from the herd to voice their convictions?  
  • Will government scientists and engineers (federal, state, and municipal), where allowed, bring this issue before their elected representatives or will they continue to cower to preserve their careers and income?
  • Will legislators do more than introduce bills, but rally their constituencies and creatively push for bans?
  • Will legislators realize this is not a partisan issue?
  • Will more and more applicators abandon the use of coal tar sealers and no longer be the poisoned pawns of coal tar producers?
  • Will social media be harnessed to rally citizens to ban this?
  • Will the industry end with the distortions and distractions and own up to their responsibility for this pervasive pollution problem?
  • Will the legal profession make any headway this year?

All I can say is this: let the snow begin!






                                                                            
While our understanding continues to develop on coal tar sealants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and human health, occasionally it is good to pull all of what we know together into a succinct summary.  That is my hope here.

There are a few studies that have been done directly on coal tar sealants and human health, but many others that either increase our understanding of the concentrations, use, mobility, and environmental effects of coal tar pavement sealants or those that demonstrate the human health effects of PAH.  The references are presented below in the following categories:

  1. Direct Studies of Human Health and Coal Tar Sealcoat
  2. Human Health Studies of the Effects of PAHs
  3. Biological and Environmental Impacts of Coal Tar Sealers
  4. Coal Tar Sealant Concentrations, Use and Mobility

These references serve to inform us of the reasonableness of actions to curtail the use and exposure to coal tar pavement sealers.


My contention is that when the facts are laid before us, it presents a compelling reason to stop the use of this product especially in areas where children will be exposed.  Much of the information presented below is from a recent summary of research compiled by the USGS as the Edwards Aquifer Authority (Texas) considers a ban of coal tar sealers.  All editorial comments are mine.

Direct Studies of Human Health and Coal Tar Sealcoat

Williams, E. S.; Mahler, B. J.; Van Metre, P. C. Environ. Pollut. 2012.
This "New Initiatives" article in Environmental Pollution estimates that, although dietary ingestion has long been thought to be the primary route of human exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), for children 3-5 years of age living in residences adjacent to parking lots with coal-tar-based sealcoat, non-dietary ingestion of PAHs (i.e., ingestion of house dust) is about 2.5 times that of dietary ingestion.
Williams, E. S.; . University of Connecticut PAH Seminar, November 2011.
This is a video summary of Dr. Williams" findings. For the first time, a toxicologist  publicly presented the probable risks to children exposed to dust tracked into homes from coal tar pavement sealants.  An excess risk of 1 in 10,000 was estimated.  Federal law deems this risk "unacceptable" and is "sufficient basis" for action.  The professor from Baylor University, Dr. Spencer Williams, stated additional studies are warranted.
"CSA"-coal tar sealant affected
from Site Remediation Planning and Management by J. Andy Soesilo, Stephanie R. Wilson, p,243.
Mackerer, C. R. et al; . 16th  International Conference on Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds, November 1997. 

We continue to hear some say that coal tar sealants have the toxic ingredients refined out (generally polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAH). This in spite of the laboratory levels of showing extremely high concentrations. 
A few years ago, I came across this research that got little attention when presented back in 1997. It pre-dates any of the current understanding of the problem of coal tar sealants. The lead author is the retired head of the Mobil Corporation"s research laboratory. He developed an index to rate the mutagenicity of chemical solutions called the Ames Index. It has been used on other coal or petroleum products as well.
Dr. Mackerer decided to do this study after seeing some college students sealing his neighborhood"s driveways. He wondered just how toxic the sealants are. So he went to a hardware store and bought 12 separate products. As the above graph shows, anything above 1.0 is considered a mutagen. The coal tar sealants are an average of about 450! Dr. Mackerer said that while the absolute number can go higher, after a few hundred the real mutagenicity is maxed out .
The only problem with this is that it has never been published, but is only a collection of slides summarizing the team"s work.
Mahler, B.J.; Van Metre, P.C.; Crane, J.L.; Watts, A.W.; Scoggins, M.; Williams, E.S., .
This paper compiles the state of our knowledge about the environmental and human health effects of coal tar sealant as well as the status of legislative action has just been published. In addition to the USGS, contributors included the State of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the University of New Hampshire, Baylor University and the City of Austin. 
The intent of the report is to present much of what has already been published in one document with new information on human health effects and the volatilization of curing sealant.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, Proposed Elementary School #19, (Grandview Hills Elementary), Austin, Travis County, Texas, EPA FACILITY ID: TXN000606777, February 13, 2008.
For years it was hoped that the federal government toxicologists would just look at the safety of children exposed to coal tar sealants. A few years ago it was discovered that they already had, but it was coincidental. A school district outside of Austin, Texas (Leander) was looking to build a new elementary school. They purchased a property that met their needs except that it had been a chemical research facility. When parents found out, many were very upset. So upset that they got the attention of their elected officials, who in turn brought in the feds (more specifically the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry ATSDR, who routinely does this kind of work).
They tested the soil and analyzed the risks. They found relatively high levels (69 mg/kg, but nothing near the highest in pavement dust by the USGS: 3200 mg/kg) of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the soil near where there were parking lots and the source was determined to be coal tar pavement sealants. The levels were sufficient to increase cancer risk in a low to moderate range if it remained at the proposed site. As a result soils were removed under the description of "remediaton."
Keifer, K; ,  Environmental Resources Management, Inc. April 2010.
In 2009 the Austin Independent School District (AISD) began to look into this issue at their schools. Below is a link to an interview that was made just as the study was getting started. Since then their toxicologist consultant found that there exist 5 complete CTS exposure pathways from paved surface to child or adult at the school! AISD has since begun a program to prioritize and remove all coal tar sealant remnants from their facilities.  They are the first in the nation to do so.  
An exposure pathway is defined by the ATSDR as follows:
The route a substance takes from its source (where it began) to its end point (where it ends), and how people can come into contact with (or get exposed to) it. An exposure pathway has five parts: a source of contamination (such as an abandoned business); an environmental media and transport mechanism (such as movement through groundwater); apoint of exposure (such as a private well); a route of exposure (eating, drinking, breathing, or touching), and a receptor population (people potentially or actually exposed). When all five parts are present, the exposure pathway is termed a completed exposure pathway.
Complete Exposure Pathways at Schools from Coal Tar Sealants
Mahler, B. J.; Van Metre, P. C.; Wilson, J. T.; Musgrove, M.; Burbank, T. L.; Ennis, T.; Bashara, T. J., 
This scientific journal article reports that concentrations of PAHs in house dust in residences adjacent to parking lots with coal-tar-sealcoated pavement were 25 times higher than those in house dust in residences adjacent to parking lots with unsealed pavement or pavement with asphalt-based sealcoat.
Human Health Studies Regarding PAH Effects




This landmark document describes the carcinogenic properties of coal tars and coal-tar pitches, and finds that there is sufficient evidence that coal-tar pitches are carcinogenic in humans.
Rundle A, Hoepner L, Hassoun A, Oberfield S, Freyer G, Holmes D, Reyes M, Quinn J, Camann D, Perera F, Whyatt R; Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Jun 1;175(11):1163-72. Epub 2012 Apr 13. 
The data indicate that prenatal exposure to PAHs is associated with obesity in childhood.
, Pediatrics, Jul 20, 2009.
Researchers at the Center for Children"s Environmental Health (CCCEH) at the Mailman School of Public Health find that exposure to urban air pollution during pregnancy can result in lower IQ in children. Air pollutants known as PAH’s (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) mostly come from traffic sources, including burning diesel fuel. Burning tobacco also releases PAHs. The result of burning fossil fuels is now linked to lower IQ, and the effects occur before birth.
Environ Health Perspect. 2006 August.

Environ Health Perspect. 2011 June.
Living near a freeway was associated with autism. Examination of associations with measured air pollutants is needed.

Biological and Ecological Health 



2006. Bryer, P.J., Elliott, J.N., and Willingham, E.J. , Ecotoxicology, vol. 15(3), 241-247. 
This scientific journal article reports that exposure to sediment contaminated with coal-tar-based pavement sealer resulted in stunted growth and slower development of the frog Xenopus laevis. 
Bryer, P.J., Scoggins, M., and McClintock, N.L., 2009. Environmental Pollution, v. 158, no. 5, p. 1932-1937. 
This scientific journal article reports that exposure to sediment contaminated with coal-tar-based sealcoat resulted in decreased abundance and richness of freshwater macroinvertebrates, an important element in the aquatic food chain. 
Scoggins, M., McClintock, N., Gosselink, L., and Bryer, P., 2007. Journal of the North American Benthological Society, v. 26, no. 4, p. 694-707. 
This scientific journal article reports a significant decrease in the health of the ecological community downstream from points of discharge of runoff from coal-tar-sealcoated parking lots relative to ecological communities upstream. 
. 2010. Bommarito, T., Spading, D.W., and Halbrook, R.S. 
This scientific journal article reports that exposure of eastern newts to sediment contaminated with coal-tar­based sealcoat resulted in deleterious effects, including difficulty right themselves, impaired ability to swim, and diminished liver enzyme activities. 

. 2010. Bommarito, T., Sparling, D.W., and Halbrook, R.W. 



This scientific journal articles reports that spotted salamanders exposed to sediment contaminated with coal-tar-based sealcoat in sediment had slower rates of growth and diminished ability to swim. Subsequent exposure to ultra-violet radiation resulted in genetic damage.

Coal Tar Sealant Concentrations, Use, and Mobility

Mahler, B.J., and Van Metre, P.C., 2011, U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011-3010, 6 p.
This USGS fact sheet provides an overview of the ways in which coal-tar-based sealcoat contaminates pavement dust, lake sediment, and house dust.
. Mahler, B.J.; Van Metre, P.C.; Crane, J.L.; Watts, A.W.; Scoggins, M.; Williams, E.S., Environ. Sci. Technol., 2012.
This Feature article in Environmental Science and Technology summarizes the ways in which coal-tar­based sealcoat contaminates stormwater runoff, lake sediment, soil, house dust, and air, and implications for human and biological health and stormwater management.
, B. J.; Van Metre, P. C.; Bashara, T. J.; Wilson, J. T.; Johns, D. A., Environ. Sci. Technol. 2005, 39, (15), 5560-5566. 
This article was the first to report the potential for coal-tar-based pavement sealcoat to be an important source of PAH contamination. The study of runoff from 13 parking lots found that concentrations of PAHs in particles in runoff from pavement with coal-tar-based sealcoat was, on average, 65 times higher than concentrations in particles in runoff from unsealed asphalt parking lots.
: The Role of Coal Tar-based Sealcoat Products as a Source of PAHs. Crane, J.L., Grosenheider, K., and Wilson, C.B., 2010, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 64 p.
This white paper by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency describes the filling of stormwater ponds with PAH-contaminated sediments, the expense of deposing of the sediments, and the likelihood that coal-tar­based pavement sealants are a substantial contributor to the problem.
Concentrations of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Major and Trace Elements in Simulated Rainfall Runoff from Parking Lots, Austin, Texas, 2003. Mahler, Barbara J.; Van Metre, Peter C.; Wilson, Jennifer T. 2004. USGS OFR 2004-1208.
This report was subject to an "Information Quality Act" challenge from the sealcoat industry, to which the USGS responded. A press release summarized the USGS response. .  This USGS report provides the data used in Mahler et al., 2005.
. Van Metre, P.C. and Mahler, BJ., 2005. Environ. Sci. Technol., v. 39, no. 15, p. 5567-5574.
This scientific journal article documents upwards trends in PAH contamination in sediment in urban lakes across the United States.
Van Metre, P. C.; Mahler, B. J.; Wilson, J. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2009, 43, (1), 20-25. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2009, 43, (1), 20-25.
This scientific journal article reports that concentrations of PAHs in dust swept from parking lots across the central, southern, and eastern U.S.—where coal-tar-based sealcoat use is most common—are in the 1000s of mg/kg, concentrations similar to those in contaminated soils of USEPA Superfund Sites.
Watts, A.W., Ballestero, T.P., Roseen, R.M., and House, J.P., Environ. Sci. Technol. 2010, v. 44(23), 8849-8854.
This scientific journal article reports that even partial coverage of a drainage area by coal-tar-based sealant resulted in increased PAH concentrations in sediment. A stormwater swale receiving runoff from both sealed and unsealed lots had PAH concentrations 25 times higher after sealant was applied than prior to sealant application. 
Yang, Y., Van Metre, P.C., Mahler, B.J., Wilson, J.T., Ligouis, B., Razzaque, M.M., Schaeffer, D.J., and Werth, CJ., 2010,: Environ. Sci. Technol., v. 44, p. 1217-1223. 
This scientific journal article reports research using organic petrography to quantitatively determine the proportion of PAHs in dust and soil samples originating as coal-tar pitch. The study found that coal-tar pitch, used in coal-tar-based sealcoat, was a dominant source of PAHs in the watershed, contributing as much as 99% of the PAHs in sealed parking lot dust, 92% in unsealed parking lot dust, 88% in commercial area soil, 71% in streambed sediment, and 84% in surficial lake sediment.
. Van Metre, P. C.; Mahler, B. J. Sci. of the Total Environ., 2010, v.409, 334-344.
This scientific journal article reports that coal-tar-based sealcoat was, on average, the largest source of PAHs to sediment in 40 U.S. lakes, on the basis of a statistical source-apportionment approach. The article also reported that coal-tar-based sealcoat was the source of upward trends in PAH concentrations in seven of eight urban lakes investigated.
Van Metre, P. C.; Majewski, M. S.; Mahler, B. J.; Foreman, W. T.; Braun, C. L.; Wilson, J. T.; Burbank, T. Chemosphere, 2012.
This scientific journal article reports PAH releases to air from in-use parking lots with and without coal-tar­based sealcoat. The mass of PAHs released to air per unit area of coal-tar-sealed pavement was 60 times greater than that released from unsealed asphalt pavement, even though in all but one case the sealant had been applied from 3 to 8 years prior to sampling.
Van Metre, P. C.; Majewski, M. S.; Mahler, B. J.; Foreman, W. T.; Braun, C. L.; Wilson, J. T.; Burbank, T. Atmos. Environ. 2012.
This scientific journal article reports enormous releases of PAHs to the atmosphere (one-quarter to one-half of the PAHs contained in the product) during the 15 days following application of coal-tar-based sealant. The authors estimate that PAH emissions from new coal-tar-based sealcoat applications each year (-1000 Mg) are larger than annual vehicle emissions of PAHs for the United States.






Last weekend, my wife and I did a 2,000 mile drive for a wedding. With a hectic schedule leading up to our departure, I quickly downloaded a few audio books from our public library to help the miles go by. I covered the usual genres that we enjoy listening together: historical fiction, cultural commentary, and environmental issues.

My wife didn"t believe that the download of was as accidental as I said, especially when the detailed description of the chemistry of coal tar was discussed! Needless to say the early portions of the book reminded her a little too much of conversations she has endured over the last 9 years; so I found myself stealing the listening via earbud while she was sleeping like stolen fruit.

My perspective on the book is that it is more of a bridge book that a river book. The author, Dan Fagin, builds a bridge of sorts to the misunderstood worlds of corporate decision-making, environmental science, human misery, organic chemistry, government ineptitude, statistics and epidemiology. No one of us firmly stands in any of those worlds, so Fagin draws us in as a storyteller and a scholar.

The story focuses on the events surrounding an infamous chemical plant in Toms River, New Jersey and the subsequent effects on the environment and the community.

What does that have to do with the pollution from coal tar pavement sealers? More than you can imagine. Industry denial, a slumbering populus, lemming-like labor, and convenient political avoidance come to mind. In contrast, though, you see the statistical difficulty of proving a cancer cluster in a finite geographical area. Some have begun to try to do the same with coal tar sealer in the US in regions where it is used more prominently. Personally I"m not equipped for that kind of statistical gymnastics.

Upon returning home I was pleased to read dozens of positive reviews of the book on as well as learn that it earned the .

In the same manner that sees the toxic coal tar dye industry has moved to offshore, the same is true with coal tar sealers with one exception. The byproducts of the dye industry are left to pollute the manufacturing location whereas the main ingredient in coal tar sealer is a toxic waste product which is made overseas and brought ridiculously back to North America.

Anyone wanting to be a force for positive change in this realm would be wise to absorb this book.







Dead Fish from Boone, NC
So, it has happened again.  Another documented case of runoff pollution after a coal tar sealant application.   This time it is in Andover, Massachusetts during the first week of October 2010.  Many of these go unreported.  Some industry applicators say this is just part of doing business!  Perhaps the easiest way to prevent this is to not apply coal tar sealants at all.
The following news article has a few misunderstandings about the product and its general terms, but the core facts are the same.

Cleanup ongoing at site of liquid asphalt spill (see below)

Earlier this year it also occurred in Boone, North Carolina and a well-documented video was made of the trout kill downstream of the parking lot source.   Hats off to Donna Lisenby and the Upper Watauga Riverkeepers for putting this together!




Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

October 7, 2010
Cleanup ongoing at site of liquid asphalt spill

By Dustin Luca
dluca@andovertownsman.com

Work is underway to clean up what the town considers a significant spill after as many as 100 gallons of liquid asphalt leaked into catch basins near a business park.

The incident occurred after parking lot sealer ran off parking lots at 10 New England Business Center Drive shortly after two coats of cold tar-based liquid asphalt were applied, said Joe Ferson, spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection. Rain started to fall shortly after workers applied the second coat, Ferson said.

The cold tar-based asphalt used to seal the parking lot is made of refined coal tar, clay and water. The tar itself is not considered to be significantly toxic, but the sheer volume of the spill had officials concerned, according to Ferson.

The town learned of the leaking asphaslt material when Highway Superintendent Christopher Cronin received a call from an unknown person about something awry at the parking lot, according to Bob Douglas, Andover conservation director.

"He had gotten an anonymous tip about what was described as an oily washout from a recently resurfaced parking lot," Douglas said.

Once he was notified, Douglas arrived at the scene, where he said he was met by work crews. "The first thing out of their mouth was that they had contacted their insurance company," Douglas said.

The material was running off the lot into a number of places, including storm drains that lead into underground streams connected to the Merrimack River, according to Ferson.

Further complicating the cleanup process was the fact that the incident went unreported to the Department of Environmental Protection, according to Douglas. The DEP should"ve been notified within a few hours, he said.

It is believed that as many as 100 gallons of the liquid asphalt material spilled into contaminated areas before being brought under control, a volume that extends far beyond the acceptably safe amount, Douglas said.

Cleanup of the site is requiring vacuum excavation and hand excavation throughout the affected areas of the property, which includes catch basin outfalls surrounding the parking lot, according to Douglas.

The storm drains are also being cleaned out, Ferson said.

"I"m glad whoever called it in did, since we probably wouldn"t have gotten the cleanup if it wasn"t engaged right away," Douglas said.

The cause of the problem is under investigation, and the amount of time it will take to fully clean the area is unknown, Ferson said Tuesday.

T&K Asphalt Services Inc., which was contracted to seal the parking lot, could not be reached for comment after business hours on Tuesday evening.








The following letter comes from Andy Igrejas of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families group. In it he lets us know that if a version of a bill is reconciled in Congress, a state"s authority to ban toxic chemicals would be blocked. We have seen with coal tar sealers a toothless EPA and a distracted Congress pushes the safety of our communities down to the state and local level. Please join me in contacting your representatives to prevent this portion of the bill from becoming law.

Tom-

As you know, both the House and Senate passed versions of TSCA reform last year. Our coalition articulated a vision for how to combine the best of both bills in a  that many of you signed.

Staff from both chambers have been working since to reconcile the two bills into final legislation and they are expected to bring it to the floor of both houses next week.

This part of the legislative process is often the most secretive, and there is a lot of uncertainty, which has made advocacy difficult. Nevertheless, most indications we"ve had have been reasonably positive, with one major exception:states could be blocked from restricting a toxic chemical even when EPA action is years away. The prohibition on state action (called "preemption") is triggered when EPA prioritizes a chemical and publishes the scope of its prospective review. The process could take up to four years for EPA to make a safety decision, and an additional three before EPA puts needed restrictions in place.


We have opposed this provision all along. It was in the Senate bill, but not the House bill. The House bill does not preempt until EPA has either taken its own action or declared the chemical safe. The Senate, backed by the chemical industry, is insisting that preemption happen much earlier.

The early preemption is unprecedented as a policy and it has the effect of delaying needed public health interventions for up to four years. During that time, whatever population the state was planning to protect (fire fighters, pregnant women, etc.) will instead be exposed. That is why we are making a big deal about this: bottom line, this provision will result in people being exposed to toxic chemicals who otherwise wouldn"t be.

So please take the time to contact your congressional delegation (sample call language below), particularly in the House, both Republicans and Democrats. Urge them to oppose the Senate early preemption provision in any final legislation. In principle, it is an unprecedented intrusion on states" rights. In practice, it exposes people to toxic chemicals who would otherwise not be exposed.

On both grounds, therefore, it should be defeated.

If you don"t communicate with your delegation this week, the provision could be law by the end of next week.

If you have any questions about the policy details, your own Congressional delegation, or you need more materials, please don"t hesitate to contact me (), Liz Hitchock (), or Beth Kemler ().  


Sincerely,

Andy

PS: Get your members and coalition partners to call Congress too!

Sample Call To Congress



I’m calling to express my concern about the conference of the two chemical safety reform bills that the House and Senate both passed last year. I understand that final legislation could come to the floor of both chambers under bill number HR 2576 as early as next week.

The chemical lobby has mounted a major push to ensure that a Senate provision that prohibits states from restricting a toxic chemical while EPA reviews the safety of that chemical is included in the final package. This is an unprecedented intrusion on states" rights.

States have led the way in restricting toxic chemicals, most recently in the area of toxic flame retardants. Several bills to restrict flame retardants are currently pending in state legislatures - supported by firefighters. The Senate bill’s provision would shut that activity down.

That would lead to a delay of up to four years before any action was taken -- a delay that would result in potentially millions of people being exposed to toxic chemicals who otherwise would not be.

The House version of reform did not include this provision and it must not be in the final bill. Representative/Senator [__________] should stand strong against any bill that blocks states from protecting their citizens from toxic chemicals.







This week"s signing of the first statewide, coal tar sealant ban spread throughout the nation and the world.  Response to the MSNBC article, "" has been overwhelming.  The first three sentences of the article are compelling:

Washington state has become the first in the nation to ban toxic asphalt sealants made from cancer-causing industrial waste that have been spread over vast swaths of the nation’s cities and suburbs.
The toxic ingredients in coal tar-based sealants are turning up in ordinary house dust as well as in streams, lakes and other waterways at levels that concern government researchers. The chemicals have been found in driveways at concentrations that could require treatment by moon-suited environmental technicians if detected at similar levels at a toxic-waste cleanup site. The sealants are also applied on playgrounds and parking lots.

The article goes on to discuss the status of bans across the country, summary of research findings, and a quote from the EPA on the topic.

At last count over 200 comments have been received.  Of course there are a few pre-recorded rants from the usual suspects and those who have a political ax to grind regardless of the topic, but many thoughtful comments were received. 

Frequently these comments are just vapors that are here today and gone tomorrow.  I thought it might be fun to summarize some of them to hear what many are thinking.  I apologize in advance for my editing of the posts for brevity and readability and I have attempted not to take statements out of context.  Views expressed here are not necessarily the view of this blog.
"Remember, the road to hell is paved with good intentions."  Yeah, but it"s sealed with coal tar.... Taterwheel
I think the state of Washington was smart to stop these toxins that are hurting people and the waters. ...Mr. Cool

 "...may suffer from lower IQs..."
Well, now we know one of the reasons for the dumbing down of America. Coal tar sealant is right up there with "Jersey Shore" for making us a bit more stupid as each day passes....PD in CA
sort of sounds like the tobacco industry arguments from a while ago!!  They know the stuff will harm people, but they just dont care because money/profits trump moral responsibility every time.... Leprechaun1230
Well, I"m glad Washington State has taken this action - and the news story told me things I didn"t know. I have already sent this to my City Council member in Tampa, Florida, to get the same thing done here. ....John A. 400474
 They"ve known about this for quite some time. Not only did they sit back and do nothing, they put it on playgrounds. That"s @!$%#in" disgusting. ...RiverDog1572451
 Yay Washington State, keep it up. At lest there may be someplace not toxic to live in. But why is it we keep having to ban the use of products already in use. Should you not have to prove your product made from the toxic waste from another industry is safe before we start letting you spay it around? ...Reliant
I don"t see that it matters that these carcinogens occur in other matierials, they are present in this sealent. It is a totally unnecessary item, easily replaced by a far less poisonous substance. What I don"t quite get is why it is allowed anywhere? I also would like to see lobbyists and others held legally responsible for advocating the use of unnecessarily dangerous matierials, flying in the face of strong scientific evidence. ...rFaber9






After 3 years of continuous tinkering with this site"s look and feel, it was time for a major overhaul.

What you see today is, hopefully, an improved interface, easier navigation, better viewing on all types of devices, and some aids for both frequent and first time visitors.

While there are still a few annoyances which will continue to be corrected or populated, I hope you agree that this is an improved look.  Some of the specific improvements I like are:

  • the automatically-generated related posts at the end of each post; 
  • a more uniform design
  • a VERY user friendly search box (try it, it is very easy on the eyes)
  • a slide show of older posts
  • a better layout of recent posts
  • a collection of videos with thumbnails

Yet to be done is fixing the banner at the top of the page and I"m not loving how it looks on some smaller devices. Sorry about that!

Enjoy and let me know if you have any comments or suggestions.

Thank you for those who have worked with us on this.  It is appreciated!






Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal 
With over 80% of assemblymembers in favor, New York Assembly Bill A07854 has moved on to the New York Senate. The bill calls for the phase-out of both the sale and application of coal tar pavement sealants.

"I am proud that the Assembly has passed my legislation, which would prohibit the sale and use of pavement products containing coal tar. As byproducts of coal processing, coal tar contains high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), many of which are known human carcinogens," said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal.

"When applied on driveways and parking lots, PAHs can contaminate local water supplies. Not only do these substances jeopardize our fish and aquatic life, but PAH contamination of household dust endangers small children who could accidentally ingest it. It is now up to the Senate to join the Assembly in passing legislation that will protect both the health of our environment and the health of the people of New York State."

Bill co-sponsors included:

Assemblymember Amy Paulin 
Assemblymember Barbara Lifton
Assemblyman Dean Murray
Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick
Assemblyman Felix Ortiz
Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr.
Assemblymember Joan L. Millman
Assemblyman Mark Weprin
Assemblyman Peter M. Rivera
Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried
Assemblyman Thomas J. Abinanti
Assemblymember Vivian E. Cook






Ah the accolades of peers! ....the adoration of the masses!

Sometimes it just isn"t good enough!

Don"t get me wrong. I"m not saying this is the status of this site, by any means.

However about two months ago, published a story about the decline of PAHs in Austin, Texas since the ban of coal tar pavement sealers there in 2005. This, in and of itself, is tremendously big news as we have covered elsewhere on this site (, , and ).

Stormwater Magazine"s story is currently ranked among the top 5 most popular articles on their site over the last two months. One may fairly accurately surmise that this is unique, never-heard-before-news to the stormwater professional and they recognize it as such. It really isn"t much more than the USGS announcement. So what"s the problem?

We need more than just stormwater professionals to be informed and interested. Instead we need more stormwater professionals to speak their minds in the public arena rather than waiting to see which way the political winds will blow. At a minimum, offer coal tar sealer bans like a chef"s special at a restaurant: highly recommended, but not mandatory.

Sometimes this happens with positive results: like the senior engineer in the District of Columbia"s Department of the Environment who first suggested a ban of coal tar pavement sealers there or the one who wrote it in the stormwater master plan for the Village of Winnetka. I would suggest that in nearly all cases someone was willing to step out of the business-as-usual flow and let their opinion be heard.

I have also seen that owning an opinion and expressing it on this topic, as kindly as possible, can be a detriment to one"s career. But let me say that those brave professionals would tell you that the satisfaction of professional integrity is worth more than any relatively meager career advancement!












I"m calling on stormwater professionals to do the unexpected: put your name out there as someone who supports the increased regulation of toxic, coal tar pavement sealers.

A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. 
A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. 
A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

During the last ten years, we have learned that coal tar pavement pollution creates a rare situation confronting stormwater professionals: direct human health effects from a stormwater pollutant. Contaminated dust in apartments with coal tar sealed parking lots increase cancer risks to children over 38 times. This prompted the to say:
"The increased cancer risk associated with coal-tar-sealed asphalt likely affects a large number of people in the U.S. Exposure to these compounds in settled house dust is a particularly important source of risk for children younger than six years of age, as they are expected to ingest this material at higher rates."

Yet, the practice of using coal tar sealers even on playgrounds continues through much of the US. The has found that the cancer risk rates rival that of Superfund sites.

In showed the runoff from surfaces sealed with coal tar products are toxic to common aquatic organisms over 100 days after application even though the product information states that a mere 24 to 48 hours of curing is sufficient.

In short, over have concluded there are major problems with this product.

And a recent poll found stormwater professionals desire regulatory changes that drive actual stormwater improvements. went into effect Austin, Texas, the PAH pollution in their major receiving waterbody dropped 58%!

Speaking of the Water Environment Federation, they recently took a pass at making a stand against coal tar sealers!

During this time communities across the country have banned this product. These 18 million Americans under a ban represent less than 10% of the US population. Yet many efforts to regulate the use of coal tar pavement sealers have failed, due in part, to a lack of strong support from professionals and the community at-large.

However some stormwater professionals have spoken up to eliminate product from their communities through state agencies, local governments and consulting firms performing master plans. I know of many stormwater professionals who work behind the scenes to influence the process. The sad reality is that fear exists in letting that support be known to colleagues. Nonetheless welcome support has come from local, regional or state organizations like the:


The fundamental question here is this: do we as a community of professionals know enough to take action? Are we prepared to speak up in our communities? Or are we putting our hopes into a national or regional legislative agenda without the requisite support to get such legislation to pass?

Are stormwater professionals the types who wait for others to tell them how to do stormwater management, or will we lead our communities and this continent? Will we wait for others to take this on? Or will we presume it is the role of non-profit, environmental organizations?

Let’s not be naïve here. A strong contingent exists in the industry which opposes any attempt to regulate their products. If you speak up in your sphere of influence, you may be vilified, deemed “too political” by your colleagues, be denied the ability to speak, or suffer economic consequences. Are we willing to do this as a community of professionals? This is generally uncharted territory for our profession, but all of those have happened to spoke up on this issue.

Yes this industry is at a crossroads. On the one hand, is the path of abdication, where we relegate the responsibility of setting the agenda to others who are willing to speak up or the other, which is a path of leadership and commitment beyond paychecks and platitudes. If you are willing to do the latter, then I would encourage you to sign your name in the comment area of this article. The commemoration of Dr. King"s birthday is to be one of service to your community. Many of you could do that here.

“We stand now where two roads diverge... The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road-the one less traveled by-offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.” Rachel Carson, Silent Spring






From the Washington Environmental Council:

Sealants contain high levels of toxic substances, posing threat to public health

OLYMPIA – Today, the Washington State Legislature enacted a first-in-the-nation ban on toxic coal tar sealants, a substance responsible for significant stormwater pollution and toxic contamination in lakes and waterways across the country. ESHB 1721 prohibits the sale of coal tar in Washington in 2012 and prevents the application of coal tar in 2013.
“Washington has long been a leader preventing exposure to harmful toxins,” said Joan Crooks of the Washington Environmental Council. “This bill is another big step forward to ensure we are protecting children’s health and the environment from harmful water pollutants.”
Coal tar is a byproduct from the use of coal in steel manufacturing. Coal tar sealant is one of a variety of available products that are applied to driveways, parking lots and playgrounds. Recent United States Geological Service (USGS) studies have shown that coal tar sealant contains high levels of suspected carcinogens. Coal tar residues are tracked into homes, exposing children to the toxins, and through toxic stormwater runoff are washed into lakes and rivers, polluting them. 
While coal tar is not widely used in Washington, it is available. The USGS tested only two lakes in the state, Lake Washington and Lake Ballinger, and found coal tar contamination in both.
“I’m proud we passed the first statewide ban against this nasty toxic threat before it can further contaminate our waters and threaten the health of our people,” said Rep. David Frockt, who sponsored the bill. “We are the first, but we won’t be the last, because we are leading the nation in the right direction.”
Cleaning up coal tar contamination is expensive:  cities and businesses spend millions of dollars every year cleaning up contaminated sediments, including pollution from coal tar.  A number of local jurisdictions across the country, including cities in Texas, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, have banned coal tar. However, Washington is the first state in the country to take this important action. 
Despite strong opposition from the Virginia based coal tar industry association, the Washington legislature passed the coal tar ban with bi-partisan support. Washington’s action on this issue is timely; tomorrow, the United States Congress is holding hearings on the toxicity and problem associated with coal tar. 






A letter is being circulated around among contractors that continue to use coal tar sealants. They use it to convince their customers to continue to use this toxic product.  Isn"t it amazing that this was the most read article among sealcoating contractors in 2012 and 2013? 

It was written from a contractor to his client to assure the client that all this talk about coal tar sealant pollution is bunk. In my opinion this is the chaos that is created when our regulatory agencies don"t step up and show leadership that their own research shows is a problem. Until that happens, we will continue to challenge flabby thinking on this issue.


When I first read this letter on the , I wrote a response to be published on this website, but the editor felt that my response was too personal and would not publish it.  My intent was to be respectful but straightforward. Apparently it was too straightforward!


Well I guess that is what a blog is for! My intent is not to make personal attacks, but to show the fallacy of the arguments made.


If you don"t want to wade into this point-by-point, then let"s here"s my summary. This letter is full of the following:

  • Exaggerations
  • Understatements
  • Concealments
  • Equivocations (the use of a vague expressions, especially in order to mislead):
  • False statements
It"s a pretty sad reality if this is what it takes to sell your product.

What follows is a point-point response to the comments made by the contractor. The original text of the letter is in italics and Coal Tar Free America"s response is in bold. The main point being responded to is highlighted. Some of the comments have links so then click the text and you"ll go to the link.


Dear John,

I know there is somewhat of a controversy brewing regarding the safety of coal tar sealer in relation to the environment and humans, and this is not the first time I"ve had to address this issue. 


With popping up all over the nation, I think we are beyond the "brewing" stage!

Let me start by stating that I have been in this industry since 1980, and started Asphalt Enterprises in 1983. There aren"t too many contractors in the United States who have been responsible for more gallons of coal tar sealer applied than myself, and we are the number one applicator in the Atlanta area, and have been for years. Let me also state that I have no dog in this fight, that is, coal tar sealer vs. asphalt emulsion sealer, since we can apply either material, and have applied a fair amount of asphalt emulsion sealer in the past. 

This is a false statement. Yes you don"t have a dog in this hunt. You have TWO: Pride & Money. If what the environmentalists have been saying is true, then your pride may resist that for 32 years your efforts, which may be innocent, have been responsible for environmental and economic harm. 

What I like to look at are the facts, based on unbiased, untainted scientific studies, and also common sense and my years of experience. 

This is a false statement. Really? Facts? Many of these points are based in "myths" not facts. Here are some common sealer myths debunked:
  1. .
Unbiased? The only research that dismisses the impacts of coal tar sealers is industry-sponsored. Industry-hired research does not meet the standard as set by the National Academy of Sciences concerning a conflict of interest (Conflict of interest is defined as any financial or other interest which conflicts with the service of an individual because it could impair the individual"s objectivity...).

Also as a side note, all pavement coatings manufacturers produce both coal tar sealer and asphalt emulsion sealer, so actually their studies are also unbiased. They are just convinced, and rightfully so, that coal tar sealer is a superior pavement coating.

This is a concealment. Just because someone manufacturers both kinds of products does not make them unbiased. Sealant manufacturers may be biased for a number of reasons including equipment infrastructure, quality of their products, liability, supply chain, profitability, etc..  

Environmentalists recently have upped their efforts on having coal tar sealer banned, based mainly on the results of two studies , one in Austin, Texas, and the other performed by the U.S. Geological Survey. 


This is a concealment and means to imply that there is limited information on this issue. There are close to 25 scientific publications that include coal tar sealants and they have been done by local agencies, universities, the USGS, the EPA, states, and a division of the Centers for Disease Control. There were just 2 studies 7 years ago, but much has changed since then. Links and abstracts of most of the studies can be found at this post on this site: 

Unfortunately for the environmentalists, both studies have been proven to be . Please visit the following links for a more detailed explanation of the flawed studies.









I did a post about that entitled, , which traces the origin of these mis-statements. 

In 2010, Springfield, Missouri tried to have a ban placed on coal tar sealer, and put it in front of the city council for a vote. Below is a link to a letter submitted by a property developer who owns shopping centers in Missouri, trying to convince the city council to reject the ban. This developer had very positive experiences with coal tar sealer, and with asphalt emulsion sealer (I"ll touch on that below). By the way, the ban was rejected.



While it is true that Springfield did vote against a ban in 2010, here"s an update. The University of Missouri and the City of Springfield did a and found coal tar sealants are a pervasive stream pollutant there. The ban may be revisited as a result.

The developer comment is a concealment. The developer had this experience more than a decade ago in the infancy of asphalt-based sealer development. That"s like saying "I"m not going to get one of those cell phones because I used one 20 years ago and it weighed over 10 pounds!"

John, as you can see there has been a huge "rush to judgement" regarding the banning of coal tar sealer. 


One of the city council members who voted against the ban made very good sense when she stated that she heard evidence from Phd"s stating that coal tar sealer was harmful, and she heard evidence from Phd"s stating that it was not harmful and they provided the research to prove it was not harmful. In the end she said there was no compelling evidence to believe that coal tar was harmful.


While people may disagree on what a "rush" is, but dozens of studies, by multiple scientists, throughout the nation, over nearly a decade now, is no "rush" to judgment in my opinion.


This same Springfield councilwoman said in the local newspaper, “I think this ( makes it clear that coal tar is the problem,” she said. “Now the question becomes, what are we gonna do about it?"

Let me just take a minute to explain the difference between coal tar sealer and asphalt emulsions. Coal tar sealer has been around for over 60 years, and coal tar was chosen over asphalt emulsion as a better raw material based on its ability to prevent the intrusion of gas, oil, and other petroleum products from damaging the pavement, and the very hard film that coal tar forms over the pavement, making it very durable to heavy traffic. Asphalt emulsions are used as a raw material in sealer only as a substitute, in areas where coal tar is not available, and has proven to be an inferior substitute . Asphalt emulsion sealers only last a couple of years, only one coat can be applied in a day, wash out areas are very common.

Where was this "proven?" Both asphalt-based sealers and coal tar sealants vary dramatically in quality and price. I have seen asphalt-based sealcoat outperform, in all aspects, coal tar sealants. Here"s more information about the acceptability of alternative products to coal tar sealers:
  1. Asphalt sealers preferred for pavement maintenance by #1 think tank for asphalt, the
  2. The has written asphalt-based sealers into the new federal specification for airports.
  3. Some are more fuel resistant than coal tar sealers.
In closing I just want to state some facts regarding coal tar:

- The FDA has approved coal tar for decades as a base ingredient for skin creams and shampoos that fight certain skin conditions. It is very odd that the . The amount of PAH"s produced by these items is far higher than that in coal tar sealer. Not sure why the environmentalists aren"t fighting the FDA and pharmacuetical companies to have coal tar banned from skin creams and shampoos. This fact ALONE should dispell any belief that coal tar sealer is harmful.


Coal tar shampoo is a common dodge by the industry. There is a huge difference between a medicated product used in a controlled manner versus a pavement product that as it cures and wears indiscriminately exposes children, adults and the environment. In the same way, radiation therapy is a valid approach to treating cancer, but just because that is true, does not make putting radioactive iodine on parking lots necessarily safe.

- In the over 60 years that coal tar sealer has been used, there is no study that shows any harmful affects to humans or animal life attributed to coal tar sealer.

I recognize you are busy but have you actually read the any of the studies that show this product harms aquatic organisms? Here"s a list with concluding summary:

 2006. Bryer, P.J., Elliott, J.N., and Willingham, E.J. , Ecotoxicology, vol. 15(3), 241-247. 
This scientific journal article reports that exposure to sediment contaminated with coal-tar-based pavement sealer resulted in stunted growth and slower development of the frog Xenopus laevis. 
 Bryer, P.J., Scoggins, M., and McClintock, N.L., 2009. Environmental Pollution, v. 158, no. 5, p. 1932-1937. 
This scientific journal article reports that exposure to sediment contaminated with coal-tar-based sealcoat resulted in decreased abundance and richness of freshwater macroinvertebrates, an important element in the aquatic food chain. 
 Scoggins, M., McClintock, N., Gosselink, L., and Bryer, P., 2007. Journal of the North American Benthological Society, v. 26, no. 4, p. 694-707. 
This scientific journal article reports a significant decrease in the health of the ecological community downstream from points of discharge of runoff from coal-tar-sealcoated parking lots relative to ecological communities upstream. 
. 2010. Bommarito, T., Spading, D.W., and Halbrook, R.S. 
This scientific journal article reports that exposure of eastern newts to sediment contaminated with coal-tar­based sealcoat resulted in deleterious effects, including difficulty right themselves, impaired ability to swim, and diminished liver enzyme activities. 

. 2010. Bommarito, T., Sparling, D.W., and Halbrook, R.W. 
 

This scientific journal articles reports that spotted salamanders exposed to sediment contaminated with coal-tar-based sealcoat in sediment had slower rates of growth and diminished ability to swim. Subsequent exposure to ultra-violet radiation resulted in genetic damage.
 -Coal tar sealer is NOT and has NEVER been classified as a hazardous material by the EPA.

This is a concealment. The active ingredient in coal tar sealants is coal tar pitch, which has something like a serial code definition called a "chemical abstract service" or CAS number. For coal tar pitch it is CAS No: 65996-93-2. 

According to the , "Coal tar emulsion sealants can contain up to 35% refined coal tar, which is made up of 50% PAHs by mass (NIST 2006)." "PAHs are known carcinogens and are known to be toxic to aquatic life (EPA 1984; Long and Morgan 2000; and Ankley et al., 2003)."

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) states the following:
  • Evidence for carcinogenicity to humans (sufficient)
  • Evidence for carcinogenicity to animals (sufficient)
  • Summary evidence: Coal-tars are carcinogenic to humans
-Asphalt emulsions also produce PAH"s, and in fact, since asphalt emulsion wears faster than coal tar sealer, these PAH"s are released into the storm drains and streams at a faster rate

This is a false statement. Because of the exceptional concentration of PAH in coal tar sealants compared to asphalt-based sealers, an asphalt sealant would have to wear off and be re-applied every day to be equivalent to the potency of a coal tar sealer. How is that figured? If a asphalt sealer has 1,000 times less PAHs than coal tar and coal tar lasts about 3 years (about 1,000 days), then the asphalt-based sealer would have to be applied 1000 times more often to equal the same loading.

Also PAH"s in asphalt emulsions are lighter than those of coal tar sealer, thus they will stay afloat and wash further down stream, as opposed to coal tar PAH"s which will fall rapidly, attaching to sediments, causing zero affect on PAH levels in the water. Other producers of PAH"s include, tire wear residue, motor oil drippings, car exhaust, hot mix asphalt, jet exhaust, roof shingles, even cigarettes, outdoor grills, volcanos, and forest fires and other outdoor burning, even wood burning in home fireplaces.I"m afraid that the if the environmentalists are successful at banning coal tar sealer, their next step will be to ban asphalt emulsion sealer based on what I stated above. 

Since asphalt sealers are so much less harmful, this is extremely unlikely. 

What they don"t realize is, banning sealants in the long run will have a much greater affect on the environment and natural resources. Pavement life will be decreased dramatically, requiring increased levels of asphalt replacement, overlayments, and total replacements. This will require more crude oil to manufacture the asphalt, more rock extracted from our rock quarries, more fuel to manufacture asphalt and raw materials, not to mention the performance of this work. Most asphalt pavements will need to be replaced within 10 years. 

Did you know that studies have shown that coal tar sealers degrade asphalt and that it isn"t recommended by the for pavement quality in the United States?

As an owner and investor in shopping centers, this will also place a financial burden on companies like yours and their investors, not the mention the lack of "curb appeal" which attracts customers to a freshly sealed and well maintained parking lot.

Really concerned about the financial burden of the owner? What is the potential cost and liability of cleaning up a parking lot which exceeds federal safety standards for human exposure?

Are we willing to attract customers by putting hazardous material on our properties? Would they be so excited to go to these commercial businesses if they knew what is on the parking lot? Today"s asphalt-based sealant stays black for the life of the product. However with as much as 30% of our urban surfaces heat-absorbing black, perhaps it"s time for us to move beyond the black paving aesthetic.

With my 32 years working in the sealcoating and paving industry, I have not seen any credible studies showing that coal tar sealer is harmful to humans or the environment. And without hesitation, if I saw any compelling, unbiased study showing it was harmful, I would discontinue it"s use within my company immediately.

Thank you John for taking the time to read this, and hopefully it will make a change on how coal tar sealer is viewed.

Sincerely,

Gerry L. Signs
President
Asphalt Enterprises, Inc.


There is a ground-swell of sealant contractors that no longer buy that coal tar sealants are harmless and they are switching to asphalt-based sealants. Now is the time for us to freshly look at new information and not be fearful of the future or defensive about past, out-dated practices.






From WSB Altanta:

By Mike Petchenik

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — Plans to patch cracks in one Sandy Springs neighborhood have some homeowners concerned for their health and safety. They plan to bring those concerns to state lawmakers. A few weeks ago, neighbors in the Woodcliff Condo complex off Ison Road told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik they received notice from their property management that crews would be sealing cracks in the parking lot with a coal tar-based sealant, which is made from a distillation of crude coal tar.

 Neighbor Tina Campbell told Petchenik she began to research the product to make sure it was safe for her and the other residents and was shocked to find out it was banned in several states and cities nationwide. "I had no idea,” said Campbell. "It"s been banned in the State of Washington, Austin, Texas and Washington, D.C. It"s been banned in 24 cities in Minnesota."

 Campbell showed Petchenik studies that have linked the sealant to cancer. “Even once it"s on for three to five years, as it breaks down, it has agents in it known as PAHs, which are known human carcinogens,” said Campbell.

 Campbell has enlisted support from the past president of a nearby neighborhood called Grogan’s Bluff. Gary Alexander told Petchenik he’s contacted an attorney to see about getting a court order to halt the project, which is scheduled to begin June 3. "I"m concerned about it. My residents are concerned about it,” said Alexander. “Everyone on the street is concerned about it." Alexander and Campbell worry that coal–tar particles will seep into a creek bed behind the condos that feeds directly into the Chattahoochee River. The neighborhood also sits across from an elementary school. “It should be investigated,” said Alexander. “It shouldn"t be allowed to be put down."

 The engineer overseeing the Woodcliff project spoke to Petchenik by phone and defended use of the product. “I would use it in my own home,” said Ralph Huie. “I would suggest it could be used at a school. I’m absolutely unconcerned.” Huie told Petchenik he’s used the product for 30 years and has had no problems with it. Still, he told Petchenik the condo board would consider an alternative, asphalt-based product based on Campbell’s concerns. “We’re in the helping people business,” he said. “I’m not in the poisoning children and ruining the environment business.”

Campbell forwarded Petchenik an email showing the condo association planned to move forward with the tar-based sealant after “consulting with the authorities,” citing its lower cost and product warranty. Campbell told Petchenik her fight isn’t just to stop the product from being used in her neighborhood. "I want to raise a broader awareness now that I know how toxic it is, to get it banned from our city or banned from our state,” she said. Petchenik reached out to the local distributor of the coal-tar based sealant for comment on Campbell’s concerns, but was told the owner didn’t want to speak to him.

 A spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Atlanta office told Petchenik the agency is currently not regulating the product, but acknowledged that several governments have banned it.






First ban of coal tar sealers in Western Michigan



Coal tar sealer bans typically result from the interest or drive by a local environmental organization or spearheaded by a particularly interested politician. But a ban brought forward by a bunch of Cub Scouts, that is a first! 

Cub Scout Den 7 presented their case for why coal tar sealers should be regulated in May. Then the Township did their own investigation and spoke to experts around the country and came to the same conclusion.

The ban was brought before the Township Board on July 11th and it unanimously passed. According to the Tribune, who covered the story, the Board left their meeting table to shake hands with the boys and congratulate them.

"I feel like I"m making the community a little better," said 9 year old, Cameron Braidwood.

The ever-important Den Mother, Cheryl Kallio, said she was "very appreciative the decision-makers took the kids seriously and researched the issue.

Township Manager Gordon Gallagher said that education will be a cornerstone of the ban which will become effective January 1, 2017.

Township Supervisor John Nash said, "It was definitely a good thing for Spring Lake Township and the young men."

Not only was this the first ban to be brought by Scouts, but may likely be the first to be celebrated at a local ice cream shop!






While our understanding continues to develop on coal tar sealants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and human health, occasionally it is good to pull all of what we know together into a somewhat succinct summary.  That is my hope here. 

New research has been added since this was first compiled in 2012. In general research has found that coal tar sealers have a profound effect on aquatic species much longer than previously understood; coal tar sealers are a significant contributor to PAH contamination of pond sediment; a ban of coal tar sealers can result in lower environmental concentrations and exposure to PAHs to the mothers of unborn children can affect them years after exposure.

There are a few studies that have been done directly on coal tar sealants and human health, but many others that either increase our understanding of the concentrations, use, mobility, and environmental effects of coal tar pavement sealants or those that demonstrate the human health effects of PAH.  The references are presented below in the following categories:
  1. Direct Studies of Human Health and Coal Tar Sealcoat
  2. Human Health Studies of the Effects of PAHs
  3. Biological and Environmental Impacts of Coal Tar Sealers
  4. Coal Tar Sealant Concentrations, Use and Mobility
These references serve to inform us of the reasonableness of actions to curtail the use and exposure to coal tar pavement sealers. Research which was funded by private industry and does not meet a common standard for unbiased research, is not included.

My contention is that when the facts are laid before us, it presents a compelling reason to stop the use of this product especially in areas where children will be exposed.  All editorial comments are mine.

Direct Studies of Human Health and Coal Tar Sealcoat

. Williams, E. S.; Mahler, B. J.; Van Metre, P. C. Environmental Science and Technology, 2013.
  • Doses of carcinogenic PAHs through non-dietary ingestion of house dust in residences with coal-tar sealant on the parking lot are 14 times greater than in residences with unsealed pavement, and are more than twice the dose from dietary ingestion, reversing a long-held assumption that dietary PAH exposure exceeds non-dietary exposure. 
  • Living adjacent to coal-tar-sealed pavement (a parking lot or driveway, for example) is estimated to increase excess lifetime cancer risk 38 times, and much of the increased risk occurs during early childhood.
 Williams, E. S.; Mahler, B. J.; Van Metre, P. C. Environ. Pollut. 2012.
  • This "New Initiatives" article in Environmental Pollution estimates that, although dietary ingestion has long been thought to be the primary route of human exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), for children 3-5 years of age living in residences adjacent to parking lots with coal-tar-based sealcoat, non-dietary ingestion of PAHs (i.e., ingestion of house dust) is about 2.5 times that of dietary ingestion.
Mahler, B.J.; Van Metre, P.C.; Crane, J.L.; Watts, A.W.; Scoggins, M.; Williams, E.S., Environ. Sci. Technol., 2012
  • This paper compiles the state of our knowledge about the environmental and human health effects of coal tar sealant as well as the status of legislative action has just been published. In addition to the USGS, contributors included the State of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the University of New Hampshire, Baylor University and the City of Austin. 
  • The intent of the report is to present much of what has already been published in one document with new information on human health effects and the volatilization of curing sealant.
. Williams, E. S.; University of Connecticut PAH Seminar, November 2011.
  • This is a video summary of Dr. Williams" findings. For the first time, a toxicologist publicly presented the probable risks to children exposed to dust tracked into homes from coal tar pavement sealants. An excess risk of 1 in 10,000 was estimated. Federal law deems this risk "unacceptable" and is "sufficient basis" for action. The professor from Baylor University, Dr. Spencer Williams, stated additional studies are warranted.
"CSA"-coal tar sealant affected
from Site Remediation Planning and Management by J. Andy Soesilo, Stephanie R. Wilson, p,243.
 Mahler, B. J.; Van Metre, P. C.; Wilson, J. T.; Musgrove, M.; Burbank, T. L.; Ennis, T.; Bashara, T. J., 
  • This scientific journal article reports that concentrations of PAHs in house dust in residences adjacent to parking lots with coal-tar-sealcoated pavement were 25 times higher than those in house dust in residences adjacent to parking lots with unsealed pavement or pavement with asphalt-based sealcoat.
,  Keifer, K; Environmental Resources Management, Inc. April 2010.
  • In 2009 the Austin Independent School District (AISD) began to look into this issue at their schools. Below is a link to an interview that was made just as the study was getting started. Since then their toxicologist consultant found that there exist 5 complete CTS exposure pathways from paved surface to child or adult at the school! AISD has since begun a program to prioritize and remove all coal tar sealant remnants from their facilities. They are the first in the nation to do so. 
  • An exposure pathway is defined by the ATSDR as follows: The route a substance takes from its source (where it began) to its end point (where it ends), and how people can come into contact with (or get exposed to) it. An exposure pathway has five parts: a source of contamination (such as an abandoned business); an environmental media and transport mechanism (such as movement through groundwater); apoint of exposure (such as a private well); a route of exposure (eating, drinking, breathing, or touching), and a receptor population (people potentially or actually exposed). When all five parts are present, the exposure pathway is termed a completed exposure pathway.
Complete Exposure Pathways at Schools from Coal Tar Sealants
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, Proposed Elementary School #19, (Grandview Hills Elementary), Austin, Travis County, Texas, EPA FACILITY ID: TXN000606777, February 13, 2008.
  • For years it was hoped that the federal government toxicologists would just look at the safety of children exposed to coal tar sealants. A few years ago it was discovered that they already had, but it was coincidental. A school district outside of Austin, Texas (Leander) was looking to build a new elementary school. They purchased a property that met their needs except that it had been a chemical research facility. When parents found out, many were very upset. So upset that they got the attention of their elected officials, who in turn brought in the feds (more specifically the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry ATSDR, who routinely does this kind of work).
  • They tested the soil and analyzed the risks. They found relatively high levels (69 mg/kg, but nothing near the highest in pavement dust by the USGS: 3200 mg/kg) of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the soil near where there were parking lots and the source was determined to be coal tar pavement sealants. The levels were sufficient to increase cancer risk in a low to moderate range if it remained at the proposed site. As a result soils were removed under the description of "remediaton."
Mackerer, C. R. et al; 16th International Conference on Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds, November 1997. 

  • We continue to hear some say that coal tar sealants have the toxic ingredients refined out (generally polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAH). This in spite of the laboratory levels of showing extremely high concentrations.
  • A few years ago, I came across this research that got little attention when presented back in 1997. It pre-dates any of the current understanding of the problem of coal tar sealants. The lead author is the retired head of the Mobil Corporation"s research laboratory. He developed an index to rate the mutagenicity of chemical solutions called the Ames Index. It has been used on other coal or petroleum products as well.
  • Dr. Mackerer decided to do this study after seeing some college students sealing his neighborhood"s driveways. He wondered just how toxic the sealants are. So he went to a hardware store and bought 12 separate products. As the above graph shows, anything above 1.0 is considered a mutagen. The coal tar sealants are an average of about 450! Dr. Mackerer said that while the absolute number can go higher, after a few hundred the real mutagenicity is maxed out. 
  • The only problem with this is that it has never been published, but is only a collection of slides summarizing the team"s work.
Human Health Studies Regarding PAH Effects

. Peterson, B; Rauh,  V; Bansal, R; Hao, X; Toth, Z; Nati, G; Walsh, K; Miller, R; Arias, F; Semanek, D; Perera, F. JAMA Psychiatry, 2015.
  • Our findings suggest that prenatal exposure to PAH air pollutants contributes to slower processing speed, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms, and externalizing problems in urban youth by disrupting the development of left hemisphere white matter, whereas postnatal PAH exposure contributes to additional disturbances in the development of white matter in dorsal prefrontal regions.
Rundle A, Hoepner L, Hassoun A, Oberfield S, Freyer G, Holmes D, Reyes M, Quinn J, Camann D, Perera F, Whyatt R; Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Jun 1;175(11):1163-72. Epub 2012 Apr 13.
  • The data indicate that prenatal exposure to PAHs is associated with obesity in childhood.
, Pediatrics, Jul 20, 2009.
  • Researchers at the Center for Children"s Environmental Health (CCCEH) at the Mailman School of Public Health find that exposure to urban air pollution during pregnancy can result in lower IQ in children. Air pollutants known as PAH’s (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) mostly come from traffic sources, including burning diesel fuel. Burning tobacco also releases PAHs. The result of burning fossil fuels is now linked to lower IQ, and the effects occur before birth.
Environ Health Perspect. 2006 August.

Environ Health Perspect. 2011 June.
  • Living near a freeway was associated with autism. Examination of associations with measured air pollutants is needed.

  • This landmark document describes the carcinogenic properties of coal tars and coal-tar pitches, and finds that there is sufficient evidence that coal-tar pitches are carcinogenic in humans.
Biological and Ecological Health 


. Kienzler, A; Mahler, B; Van Metre, P; Schweigert, N; Devaux, A; Bony, S.
 Science of the Total Environmental, July 2015.
  • Runoff from coal-tar-sealed pavement, diluted 1:100, causes DNA damage when cells also are exposed to ultra-violet radiation that mimics sunlight.
  • Runoff from coal-tar-sealed pavement, diluted 1:10, impairs the ability of cells to repair DNA damage.

Mahler, B; Ingersoll, C; Van Metre, P; Kunz, J; Little, E. Environmental Science and Technology, 2015.

  • Runoff from freshly applied coal-tar sealcoat is acutely toxic to two test organisms (fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) and a water flea (Ceriodaphnia dubia)).
  • Toxic effects to test organisms continue for samples collected as long as 111 (3+ months) days following application if organisms also are exposed to ultra-violet light mimicking sunlight.

. 2010. Bommarito, T., Spading, D.W., and Halbrook, R.S. 
  • This scientific journal article reports that exposure of eastern newts to sediment contaminated with coal-tar­based sealcoat resulted in deleterious effects, including difficulty right themselves, impaired ability to swim, and diminished liver enzyme activities.
. 2010. Bommarito, T., Sparling, D.W., and Halbrook, R.W. 
  • This scientific journal articles reports that spotted salamanders exposed to sediment contaminated with coal-tar-based sealcoat in sediment had slower rates of growth and diminished ability to swim. Subsequent exposure to ultra-violet radiation resulted in genetic damage.
 Bryer, P.J., Scoggins, M., and McClintock, N.L., 2009. Environmental Pollution, v. 158, no. 5, p. 1932-1937. 
  • This scientific journal article reports that exposure to sediment contaminated with coal-tar-based sealcoat resulted in decreased abundance and richness of freshwater macroinvertebrates, an important element in the aquatic food chain. 
 Scoggins, M., McClintock, N., Gosselink, L., and Bryer, P., 2007. Journal of the North American Benthological Society, v. 26, no. 4, p. 694-707. 

  • This scientific journal article reports a significant decrease in the health of the ecological community downstream from points of discharge of runoff from coal-tar-sealcoated parking lots relative to ecological communities upstream.

 2006. Bryer, P.J., Elliott, J.N., and Willingham, E.J. , Ecotoxicology, vol. 15(3), 241-247. 
  • This scientific journal article reports that exposure to sediment contaminated with coal-tar-based pavement sealer resulted in stunted growth and slower development of the frog Xenopus laevis. 
Coal Tar Sealant Concentrations, Use, and Mobility

. Van Metre, P; Mahler, B. Environmental Science and Technology, June 2014.
  • PAH concentrations in Lady Bird Lake sediment decline 58% in less than 10 years following a ban on coal-tar-based pavement sealants in Austin, Texas.
. Crane, J. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 2013.
  • Using a source apportionment model, this study of 15 Minnesota stormwater ponds indicates that about 2/3 of all PAHs come from coal tar pavement sealers.
 Mahler, B.J., and Van Metre, P.C., 2011, U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011-3010, 6 p. 
  • This USGS fact sheet provides an overview of the ways in which coal-tar-based sealcoat contaminates pavement dust, lake sediment, and house dust.
. Mahler, B.J.; Van Metre, P.C.; Crane, J.L.; Watts, A.W.; Scoggins, M.; Williams, E.S., Environ. Sci. Technol., 2012.
  • This feature article in Environmental Science and Technology summarizes the ways in which coal-tar­based sealcoat contaminates stormwater runoff, lake sediment, soil, house dust, and air, and implications for human and biological health and stormwater management.
, B. J.; Van Metre, P. C.; Bashara, T. J.; Wilson, J. T.; Johns, D. A., Environ. Sci. Technol. 2005, 39, (15), 5560-5566.
  • This article was the first to report the potential for coal-tar-based pavement sealcoat to be an important source of PAH contamination. The study of runoff from 13 parking lots found that concentrations of PAHs in particles in runoff from pavement with coal-tar-based sealcoat was, on average, 65 times higher than concentrations in particles in runoff from unsealed asphalt parking lots.
: The Role of Coal Tar-based Sealcoat Products as a Source of PAHs. Crane, J.L., Grosenheider, K., and Wilson, C.B., 2010, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 64 p.
  • This white paper by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency describes the filling of stormwater ponds with PAH-contaminated sediments, the expense of deposing of the sediments, and the likelihood that coal-tar­based pavement sealants are a substantial contributor to the problem.
Concentrations of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Major and Trace Elements in Simulated Rainfall Runoff from Parking Lots, Austin, Texas, 2003. Mahler, Barbara J.; Van Metre, Peter C.; Wilson, Jennifer T. 2004. USGS OFR 2004-1208. 
. Van Metre, P.C. and Mahler, BJ., 2005. Environ. Sci. Technol., v. 39, no. 15, p. 5567-5574.
  • This scientific journal article documents upwards trends in PAH contamination in sediment in urban lakes across the United States.
Van Metre, P. C.; Mahler, B. J.; Wilson, J. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2009, 43, (1), 20-25. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2009, 43, (1), 20-25.
  • This scientific journal article reports that concentrations of PAHs in dust swept from parking lots across the central, southern, and eastern U.S.—where coal-tar-based sealcoat use is most common—are in the 1000s of mg/kg, concentrations similar to those in contaminated soils of USEPA Superfund Sites.

 Watts, A.W., Ballestero, T.P., Roseen, R.M., and House, J.P., Environ. Sci. Technol. 2010, v. 44(23), 8849-8854.
  • This scientific journal article reports that even partial coverage of a drainage area by coal-tar-based sealant resulted in increased PAH concentrations in sediment. A stormwater swale receiving runoff from both sealed and unsealed lots had PAH concentrations 25 times higher after sealant was applied than prior to sealant application. 
 Yang, Y., Van Metre, P.C., Mahler, B.J., Wilson, J.T., Ligouis, B., Razzaque, M.M., Schaeffer, D.J., and Werth, CJ., 2010,: Environ. Sci. Technol., v. 44, p. 1217-1223.
  • This scientific journal article reports research using organic petrography to quantitatively determine the proportion of PAHs in dust and soil samples originating as coal-tar pitch. The study found that coal-tar pitch, used in coal-tar-based sealcoat, was a dominant source of PAHs in the watershed, contributing as much as 99% of the PAHs in sealed parking lot dust, 92% in unsealed parking lot dust, 88% in commercial area soil, 71% in streambed sediment, and 84% in surficial lake sediment.
. Van Metre, P. C.; Mahler, B. J. Sci. of the Total Environ., 2010, v.409, 334-344.
  • This scientific journal article reports that coal-tar-based sealcoat was, on average, the largest source of PAHs to sediment in 40 U.S. lakes, on the basis of a statistical source-apportionment approach. The article also reported that coal-tar-based sealcoat was the source of upward trends in PAH concentrations in seven of eight urban lakes investigated.
 Van Metre, P. C.; Majewski, M. S.; Mahler, B. J.; Foreman, W. T.; Braun, C. L.; Wilson, J. T.; Burbank, T. Chemosphere, 2012.
  • This scientific journal article reports PAH releases to air from in-use parking lots with and without coal-tar­based sealcoat. The mass of PAHs released to air per unit area of coal-tar-sealed pavement was 60 times greater than that released from unsealed asphalt pavement, even though in all but one case the sealant had been applied from 3 to 8 years prior to sampling.
 Van Metre, P. C.; Majewski, M. S.; Mahler, B. J.; Foreman, W. T.; Braun, C. L.; Wilson, J. T.; Burbank, T. Atmos. Environ. 2012.
  • This scientific journal article reports enormous releases of PAHs to the atmosphere (one-quarter to one-half of the PAHs contained in the product) during the 15 days following application of coal-tar-based sealant. The authors estimate that PAH emissions from new coal-tar-based sealcoat applications each year (-1000 Mg) are larger than annual vehicle emissions of PAHs for the United States.








The District of Columbia"s Department of the Environment has completed their first remediation of a violation of their coal tar sealant ban. The technique, shot blasting, has been described on this site as a means to remove the material without causing additional pollution problems. I hope to post a video of the removal in DC soon. Congratulations to the District of Columbia!


October 20, 2011
District Orders Removal of Toxic Coal Tar Sealant From Private Parking Lot

Banned product a major source of pollution.
(WASHINGTON, DC) -- The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) announced today that a 23,000 square-foot privately-owned parking lot in Northeast DC, contaminated with toxic coal tar pavement, was successfully remediated on Sunday, October 16, 2011. 
Remediation of the lot, which drains into the Anacostia River, started on October 11, 2011 after a DDOE inspector issued a Notice of Violation to the property owner and contractor. The remediation process took 2.5 days, but was halted due to rain. The coal tar pavement product was removed with a shot blast machine, which uses steel beebees, or “shot,” to pulverize the sealant layer on the lot. The machine was equipped with a HEPA filter and vacuum to eliminate ambient dust release.
“I’m excited to see the swift and successful remediation of this site,” said DDOE Director Christophe A. G. Tulou. “Keeping highly toxic chemicals away from our local waterways help to ensure the health of our aquatic life as well as the public. That is our #1 priority.”  Director Tulou added that private property owners should always inquire about the products being used on their properties and not to permit contractors to use coal tar pavement products.


Coal tar pavement products are commonly used to seal parking lots and driveways and contain high levels of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).  According to the Comprehensive Stormwater Management Enhancement Amendment Act of 2008, it is illegal to use, permit the use of, sell, or distribute coal tar pavement products in the District of Columbia as of July 1, 2009.  
“This is a huge step towards reducing PAH levels in District waterways,” said Councilmember Mary Cheh who sponsored the coal tar limitations section of the statute. “Eliminating coal tar pavement products is low-hanging fruit in reducing this major source of pollutant. I hope that other jurisdictions see the environmental benefits and follow suit.” The District is the only municipality in the Chesapeake Watershed to ban coal-tar-based sealants.
A 2010 study showed that dust from coal-tar-sealed parking lots contained 530 times more PAHs than dust from parking lots with other surface types.  This dust from coal-tar sealed parking lots contained about 7 times more PAHs than undiluted used motor oil, which has been recognized as having one of the highest PAH concentrations of all urban PAH sources. Rainwater washes these toxic PAH-containing sealant particles and dust down storm drains and into our local streams and rivers, threatening aquatic life in the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. 
For more information on the coal tar ban, visit  or call the Mayor’s Citywide Call Center at 311.







Phase Out Coal Tar Sealant Use to be Heard in Committee on Thursday


Two years ago Representative Mattie Daughtry introduced legislation to ban coal tar pavement sealers. Opposition was concerned about a ban affecting businesses and narrowly defeated the bill by just a few votes.

But a lot has changed since 2013.

Representative Daughtry talked with us about those changes as well as her motivation in bringing the bill forward, the political climate and her hopes of getting it passed.

Here are some of the what"s new:
  • The bill has been written to give suppliers and contractors more time to adapt or work through existing materials.
  • An amendment is coming that spells out the details of an enforcement programs.
  • Unlike 2 years ago, there are many more alternative sealcoat products available from the largest sealer manufacturers; many promising fast cure times in marginal weather, fuel resistance, durable and maintaining a deep, black color. West Coast asphalt sealers are expanding their territories to the East.
  • There"s also more science to support banning the coal tar sealers such as the 58% reduction in pollutant levels in Austin in less than 10 years after the ban was passed; how exposure to these chemicals is more than a cancer risk, but also affects brain and behavioral development; and a greater understanding of the short term and long term polluting potential of a sealed lot.
A Father"s Influence

Representative Daughtry credits her father with educating her about stormwater pollution and the dangers of coal tar pavement sealers. He is a civil engineer and studied the problem in the Long Creek Watershed (Portland area). The recommended a reduction in the use of coal tar based pavement sealers back in 2009. Daughtry has been taking advantage of his recent retirement to aide her passage of this bill.

Her father has also been researching the status of non-coal-tar sealants too. He"s found a plethora of suitable substitutes, which makes creates the opportunity to move away from coal tar sealers.

A Rare Opportunity

Representative Daughtry characterized this as a "rare opportunity" and a "no-brainer" where a toxic product has multiple substitutes. Typically, there just aren"t any, but here there are products with proven track records which won"t affect businesses.

She expressed a willingness to work with applicators to phase-out these products.

Bipartisan Bill

The bill has several co-sponsors including a few Republicans who support the ban. Daughtry said they were convinced when learning about the human health effects of coal tar sealers, suitable substitutes and the negative economic impact of coal tar sealers.

Citizens Needed!

Daughtry admitted the legislation faces some uncertainty as it moves forward. This Thursday the bill goes before the joint at 12 pm EST. Supporters are encouraged to contact individual members and let their opinions be known.

She concluded our conversation with this:

"I am excited to see how the bill moves forward with some great new information that backs up why these products need to be out of our ecosystem, our driveways, our feet and being tracked into our homes. I"m hoping this is the year will we get this important, life saving legislation through."







In just about 2 weeks over 8,500 people have signed a to ban coal tar pavement sealants.  While that isn"t a landslide of public opinion, it is nonetheless a strong showing of coast-to-coast public support for action.  Not everyone left a comment, but some of the more poignant ones have been included below.

This stuff is known to be very toxic, you want to live in it, move next to a refinery, stop dumping it on unsuspecting driveway etc owners
Mr. Wells Eddleman, NC

Allowing the use of this sealant is a blatant disrespect for the lives of our children and the health of our community. This must stop now!!! Congress needs to be responsible and hold companies responsible for their actions and ban the use of any known substances that cause harm to animal and human health! This is an OUTRAGE!
Ms. Dawn Drew, TX

The smell of this is awful. I just had a terrible asthma attack yesterday from the smell of a truck going down the road. Ban this now for every ones health. I was on my way to the doctor when this happen, now I"m on meds to get my breathing back to normal.

Ms. Sandy Nichols, MI

Please, do the right thing and ban coal tar pavement sealant permanently in all states! Our children"s health and futures are at stake here!
Ms. Susan Rose, AZ

Coal tar is banned in shampoos in Europe because it may cause skin cancer to develop. Yet it is marketed in the U.S. Both the sealant and the addition of it in shampoo should be banned.
Mrs. Dena Spohn, NM

....Yet, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, the coal tar sealant industry has been working to derail the bans in several states. The best way to avoid gaps in protection of our children, our families, ourselves and the environment is for Congress to follow the lead of Texas Representative Lloyd Doggett who is working to ban the use of coal tar pavement sealant in all 50 states. The time to act is now.
Ms. Karen Helton, NC

Cancer is on the rise. Please help prevention of cancer by taking products like this off the market.
Ms. Monluedee Luecha, NE

I"m sure there are more valuable and less environmentally damaging things to do with coal tar. I live two blocks from a site with old coal tar contamination - a coal gas plant which closed about 100 years ago, and the pollution from leaks in the coal tar tank still needed remediation 80 years later.
Ms. Janet Lowther, KS

Come on ... even you folks can stop doing nothing long enough to ban this. Instead of a 40th attempt to repeal Obama care, how about trying to do something that will actually do good?
Mr. Jonscott Williams, AZ

there is so much of carcinogenic substances around that we should limit the exposure. And it is up to Congress to protect ur health
Dr. izabela musial, AZ

As public awareness of health issues like coal tar increases, more class-action law suits will be leveled against state and federal government. They can avoid this, and the illness, death and destruction of the environment, now, by prohibiting the use of coal tar, at last as a pavement sealant, for now.
Mr. Paul Whitcomb, ME

THAT INDIVIDUALS ARE SELLING SOMETHING THAT CAN GIVE THEIR OWN CHILDREN CANCER IS BEYOND BELIEF. THIS STOPS AND IT STOPS RIGHT NOW TELL THE PEOPLE IN THE COAL TAR SEALANT INDUSTRY TO GET BETTER JOBS--MAYBE AS CANCER WARD ATTENDANTS?!?!?!
Ms. NANCY LOVE, CA

There are so many assaults on our chidren"s health please eliminate this one!
Ms. Julianna Nader, OR

How can they use this poison and no one stops them?
Mr. Roy Windmuller, SC
3

To continue to expose people to a dangerous chemical in order to continue to make money is murder for profit. Squirm as you wish, but the issue is simple. Murder for profit. Hell is awaiting your decision.
Mr. Marvin Carter, WA

I am extremely sensitive to coal tar products and my allergies to other toxins kick in, too, for a synergistic effect that keeps me hombound most of the time
Ms. Christina Pacosz, MO

As usual, the U.S. lags far behind in protecting its citizens from harmful chemicals. Please review your commitment to chemical industry donors versus the health of your constituents and your own children.
Ms. Victoria J Lowe, TX

I recently walked across the parking lot of my local supermarket. A hot summer day, the sun baking on the dark pavement. I could feel the toxic fumes going into my lungs. My lungs are fully-formed adult ones; what a damaging blow to children"s lungs and long-term health.
Ms. Mary Jane Pagan, RI

Once again the government is continuing to allow the use of a substance that we know to be harmful in favor of economic interests rather than doing what is best to protect people and the environment. Congress, you work for us, ban coal tar sealant now!
Ms. Gale & Mark Eric Johansen, IL

This is why industry should not be allowed to police itself.
Mr. Patrick Jean, NC

If Texas is banning it, you know it needs to be banned. Why is this on the market at all? Why do we as consumers have to monitor every single item we purchase for fear it will give us cancer or take advantage of someone in some way? Do the right thing and ban this!
Dr. Misty Jackson, MI






Remember that movie from a few years back called "Waiting for Superman"? In the same way, if
you"re waiting for someone else to solve this problem, you may be in for a long wait.

But what can one person do to make a difference on this issue?

Great question and it depends.

To guide people to what things they can do, we now have a new page tab entitled "Action." It is located near the top of any page on the site. There you will find some general and specific ways you can help eliminate this product from your community.

One cannot argue with the influence that everyday citizens and local decision-makers can have in their own communities with coal tar sealant use and pollution. I have highlighted many of those citizens here in the past like a retiree in Florida ("") to a riverkeeper in North Carolina ("") to a former councilmember in Missouri ("") and not to mention the 9,000 or so that signed a petition for a national ban ("").

There are many more who have read the articles and have persistently expressed their concerns to their local decision-makers.  Individual citizens have been involved in coal tar sealant efforts in Washington, Minnesota, New York, Michigan, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina, 
Illinois, and Ohio.

Children  

I would love to have a series of photos of children"s chalk art encouraging people to stop using this product. Of course I would only want kids to draw on asphalt based sealer or bare asphalt, but it would still convey the message.

Personal
  1. Learn if you live in an area that may use coal tar sealants. The best guide I know of is a national survey of sealcoat applicators and their preferred products. Just hover your mouse over the state and find out the percentage.
  2. Find out if you have any close, probable coal tar sealer hot spots based upon the USGS" 40 Lakes Study.


Community

While some may disagree with this self-critique, I always try to allow elected and appointed officials to be the first to unveil a problem to the public. Let them be the heroes. Give folks the chance to make a good, well-thought out decision in private prior to being confronted in a public forum. Harry Truman has been quoted to say, "There is no end to what one can accomplish in public service, if you"re willing to let others take credit." If they don"t, then go public.

Partner

Partner with a local environmental organization: These people are often very busy with existing agendas, but frequently they have already been thinking about this and may already have had conversations with local officials. Maybe something is already in the works. If not, ask them if they would support an effort to rid your community of this product. 

Schools

Ask if your local schools use coal tar sealers. Most likely they won"t know if they do. Look for the telltale signs of sealcoat overspray on concrete surfaces near the sealed surface. If they aren"t sure, then ask them to run our to check to see what they have. If they have coal tar, then show up to a school board meeting and ask them what they are going to do about exposing children to these chemicals. Tell them the asked schools to stop using this product before they passed a statewide ban and that the have a program to remove and remediate their playgrounds and parking lots which have coal tar sealants on them. 

Homeowners" Association

If you live in an association, find out what they use and ask them to stop its use. Here"s an .

Colleges

Do you have any nearby that has a biology or engineering school that might be interested in monitoring an urban stream for PAH pollution? This has been done in several locations in North Carolina, and Missouri. Challenge your college to pledge not to use coal tar.  Many have a sustainability coordinator or similar title, which may be a good place to start.

Municipality

Write a letter to your public works director or city engineer and copy the mayor or city manager. Ask them to stop using it themselves and consider banning its use in the community altogether. After getting this response, do a little homework and find out who might be sympathetic to this issue on your local council. Any with a reputation for being concerned with conservation, the environment or community health? Send them an email and start a dialog.

Media

If you have been given a lukewarm reception from your local decision-makers, see if you might interest a local reporter with experience in government, nature or the environment to cover the story. Understand their perspective: what aspects to your story would interest their readership? What have you learned about state and local conditions which would make this story locally relevant? Let them know that major publications have done "above-the-fold" stories on this. If you have a story you think the nation should hear about, then just send me an email to get that started.
State

There are currently statewide efforts in New York, Indiana and Illinois. If you live in those states, write your representative and send the sponsor of the legislation a note of support. If you don"t, find out when they are in session from the below map and write your local representative. The sponsoring legislators are:
Stay tuned for more to come here. Have a suggestion or an example letter you"ve sent? Just include it in the comments below. I"m looking forward to your participation in this grassroots effort.








Perhaps I"m dating myself, but remember the old Uncle Remus story where , who was covered in tar, tricked Brer Fox into throwing him into a briar patch?  There he was able to scrape the tar off of himself.  But what would"ve happened if Brer Rabbit didn"t get the tar off?

That question was answered long ago and has been nearly forgotten.  Nearly 100 years ago, scientists were mystified at what exactly caused cancer.  Some thought it was parasites or bacteria; others thought it might be from repeated exposure to harmful chemicals, but no one knew for sure.  Until some Japanese researchers decided to put their chemical exposure theory to the test.


In 1915 Drs. Koichi Ichikawa and Katsusaburo Yamagiwa of the Hokkaido University, Japan painted coal tar on the ears of 101 rabbits every 2 or 3 days. They designed their experiment because of the common knowledge that boys who were chimney sweeps developed cancers from exposure to tar build-up on the inside of chimneys.  Abnormal growths were seen on the rabbit ears in just 30 to 100 days. After 150 days, 100% of the rabbits developed cancer.

For this discovery, the first of its kind, Ichikawa and Katsusaburo were nominated for a Nobel Prize, which would have been Japan"s first. Ironically they lost out to a Danish researcher who had compelling evidence that stomach cancers were caused by parasites, which was later proven to be false.

How does this relate to coal tar sealants?  While coal tar sealants have some rather inert substances added to them, research has shown the following:
Now if only we all had a briar patch to keep coal tar sealants from affecting us as well or maybe we should just stop using them altogether.



For more on the rabbit research see the following sources:


and the original research paper (in English)




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ul { list-style-type: none; margin: 0; padding: 0; overflow: hidden; background-color: #333; } li { float: left; } li a { display: block; color: white; text-align: center; padding: 14px 16px; text-decoration: none; } li a:hover:not(.active) { background-color: #111; } .active { background-color: #4CAF50; } DMCA report abuse Home Todas Pastas Auto Post sitemap Blog "Sem Imagens" oLink xxx TarMan Chronicles: First 10 Years Coal Tar Free Top 5 Business Reasons to Stop the Use of Coal Tar Sealers Edina Becomes Minnesota's 13th Community to Ban Coal Tar Sealants Last night Edina, Minnesota, in spite of pressure from industry, passed a ban of coal tar pavement sealants.  With a population over 47,000 and the reputation of being one of the most affluent suburbs of Minneapolis, Edina"s ban will go into effect next week.  I"m getting behind on my tally of communites, which is a good thing!2013 Review: Snowball Effect Grows, But Avalanche Needed Snowball by Deutsch used with permissionThe inter-related aspects of coal tar sealant pollution were never more obvious than in the year 2013.  Research affected the press, which in turn mobilized citizens and legislators to act in a snowball-like fashion.  And the whole time industry tried in vain to melt the snowball as with a hair dryer by outrageous claims and faux research.  This is a review of some of the highlights of the major events of year, which was the 8th year since the nation"s first ban of coal tar sealants in Austin, Texas.Most importantly, about 4 million more Americans are under coal tar sealant bans now than this time last year. That is a 33% increase, where most could be attributed to the statewide ban in Minnesota.  Several other bans are under development that could dwarf that number.  Also, this site just surpassed 100,000 page views with web traffic that has doubled in the last 2 years and can be as much as 30 times more than the traffic was back in 2006.This good news needs to be tempered with the fact that an avalanche of public outcry will be needed to eliminate this product from use, yet most Americans still have no idea of this issue.While all of these aspects are related, it seems reasonable to summarize the highlights in these categories: Science, Press, Legislation, Citizen Action, and Industry Response.SCIENCEEarly in the year, news emerged about the publication of the Baylor University/USGS research into the possible health effects of coal tar sealant dust exposure.  According to the primary researcher, Dr. Spencer Williams, "the increased cancer risk associated with coal-tar-sealed asphalt likely affects a large number of people in the U.S."  This is the first published, risk assessment of its kind and something that was suspected all along.  The below graphic, which was developed using the Baylor statistics shows that the risk to small children is especially high and in the "desired remediation" zone (red).  More can be read about this at:Additional scientific research emerged from the Pennsylvania showing coal tar sealants can be a dominate source in ex-urban/rural US.  Also late in the year, Dr. Judy Crane published a lengthy PAH paper in Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology on the sources of PAH pollution in urban stormwater ponds in Minnesota and the policy implications of those findings.  Look for a full review of this paper in January.PRESSCoverage expanded this year which enabled millions more to hear about this.  The press and social media that followed a March announcement from Baylor University was unprecedented.  Multiple media outlets around the nation and world covered it with headlines like Proximity To Parking Lots And Sealed Pavements Linked With Elevated Cancer Risk, and Your Neighborhood"s Cancer Causing Secret.  Later in that same month, the Chicago Tribune demonstrated a pattern of exaggeration in the coal tar sealant industry"s research.In June, USA TODAY, with the nation"s second largest number of subscribers, came out with a solid article entitled Toxic Driveways? Cities Ban Coal Tar Sealants that detailed the dangers, what researchers are saying, and discussed the future of bans.  One applicator stated that he believed "we are at the tipping point in the movement away from the use of coal tar sealers."In July NBC Nightly News prepared for a segment on coal tar pavement sealants.  It never aired.  I was reminded of a PBS radio segment several staff in Austin worked on in 2006 which also never aired.  So it goes the media.The year did see several well-done, extended segments by local TV news stations in Ohio (Is Your Driveway Making You Sick?), North Carolina (Toxic Driveways and the Test You Can Do at Home) and Oklahoma where one public health official said it"s not OK to use coal tar sealants "anytime, by anyone, anywhere."One surprise media coverage came on the TV show The Doctors, which had an entire segment to this issue.  The show has an audience of about 2 million viewers. Each of these news stories reaches a different demographic, all of which need to hear this message.LEGISLATION.Minnesota"s ban was most notable and it is worth mentioning what Senator Bev Scalze said of the effort:Yes, this is a great day in Minnesota when we have now banned the sale and application of coal tar sealant in Minnesota. Rep. Rick Hansen was the chief author in the Minnesota House of Representatives and I was the chief author in the Minnesota Senate of the bills, one of which made it through the process. Thanks to help from Representative Phyllis Kahn, Senator Richard Cohen and Senator Katie Sieben the language remained in the final Clean Water Legacy bill which was signed by Governor Dayton.Additonal ban legislation efforts were started or continued in jurisdictions in New York, where it passed the Assembly by a wide, bipartisan majority; Maine, where it was narrowly defeated in the House of Representatives; Michigan, where it never got out of committee and Indiana, where the sponsor was unable to get traction for a study of the problem in the state.  A bit more detailed review of these efforts can be found here.  A ban in New York alone would more than double the population under a ban in the US.At a municipal level, the City of Chicago introduced a bill to ban coal tar sealants too.  It has been heard in committee, but it is uncertain when or if additional action will be taken.  One important development here is the written support of the head of the Chicago Department of Public Health.  That may be a nod by the present mayor of support.South Carolina saw its first ban of any type in Greenville and Springfield, Missouri continued to be poked and prodded by a former councilman, but did not take up the matter officially.Nationally, Congressman Lloyd Doggett (TX) unveiled a revised bill in April to phase out the use of coal tar sealants, but the bill was never heard in committee.  This coincided with Earth Day where the Congressman tweeted:On #EarthDay let"s remember that we have a long way to go to ensure a better world for our kids & grandkids.Amen to that.Why do these bills fail to be heard?  While we can complain about lobbyists and special interests, the fact is that there is not enough public outcry over this common, everyday carcinogen to get many bills off dead center.CITIZENSAround the US, citizens are calling on their elected officials to do something about coal tar pavement sealants.  Every media story spurs more to ask their officials.  But to honest, we need more.Notable among these is a petition that was started and signed by over 9,000 people for the nation to ban this product.  Here are some of the citizen responses:This stuff is known to be very toxic, you want to live in it, move next to a refinery, stop dumping it on unsuspecting driveway etc ownersMr. Wells Eddleman, NCAllowing the use of this sealant is a blatant disrespect for the lives of our children and the health of our community. This must stop now!!! Congress needs to be responsible and hold companies responsible for their actions and ban the use of any known substances that cause harm to animal and human health! This is an OUTRAGE!Ms. Dawn Drew, TX The smell of this is awful. I just had a terrible asthma attack yesterday from the smell of a truck going down the road. Ban this now for every ones health. I was on my way to the doctor when this happen, now I"m on meds to get my breathing back to normal.Ms. Sandy Nichols, MI Please, do the right thing and ban coal tar pavement sealant permanently in all states! Our children"s health and futures are at stake here!Ms. Susan Rose, AZThis year also marked the advance of the citizen-scientist via the Physicians for Social Responsibility.  Chapters in New York City, Texas, Chicago and Maine have endorsed the reduction in the use of coal tar sealers for the health of humans, especially children. INDUSTRY RESPONSE"Industry" is not a homogeneous group and that continued to be evident this year.  Perhaps it would be more succinct to differentiate Suppliers/Producers from Applicators.  The greatest amount of resistance comes from the Suppliers/Producers both in funding and advocacy, but many Applicators have demonstrated a willingness to move away from coal tar containing sealcoat products.Earlier in the year, the Suppliers/Producers (as represented by the Pavement Coatings Technology Council) hosted a webinar on how to save your business and stop bans from happening.  Some of the Applicators have told me that this rings of desperation and that most of the Applicators recognize the need to move to less toxic alternatives.This year marked progress among applicators in at least 2 states, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Over 100 applicators from six Great Lakes States, but primarily form Wisconsin and Minnesota, pledged to no longer use coal tar sealers.  The efforts were highlighted by a series of webinars hosted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and recordings of these sessions are available here.2014 PREDICTIONS?To make progress in the reduction of coal tar sealant use requires individuals and groups to go beyond business as usual.  If I could definitively answer the following questions, then I could predict EXACTLY how 2014 will go:Will the media see this as a story that should continue to be told?  Will additional research come to light which calculates the hazards of coal tar sealers and compels more news coverage?  Will citizens have the conviction to step out from the herd to voice their convictions?  Will government scientists and engineers (federal, state, and municipal), where allowed, bring this issue before their elected representatives or will they continue to cower to preserve their careers and income?Will legislators do more than introduce bills, but rally their constituencies and creatively push for bans?Will legislators realize this is not a partisan issue?Will more and more applicators abandon the use of coal tar sealers and no longer be the poisoned pawns of coal tar producers?Will social media be harnessed to rally citizens to ban this?Will the industry end with the distortions and distractions and own up to their responsibility for this pervasive pollution problem?Will the legal profession make any headway this year?All I can say is this: let the snow begin! Human Health, Coal Tar Sealants, & PAHs: the State of the Science                                                                             While our understanding continues to develop on coal tar sealants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and human health, occasionally it is good to pull all of what we know together into a succinct summary.  That is my hope here.There are a few studies that have been done directly on coal tar sealants and human health, but many others that either increase our understanding of the concentrations, use, mobility, and environmental effects of coal tar pavement sealants or those that demonstrate the human health effects of PAH.  The references are presented below in the following categories:Direct Studies of Human Health and Coal Tar SealcoatHuman Health Studies of the Effects of PAHsBiological and Environmental Impacts of Coal Tar SealersCoal Tar Sealant Concentrations, Use and MobilityThese references serve to inform us of the reasonableness of actions to curtail the use and exposure to coal tar pavement sealers. My contention is that when the facts are laid before us, it presents a compelling reason to stop the use of this product especially in areas where children will be exposed.  Much of the information presented below is from a recent summary of research compiled by the USGS as the Edwards Aquifer Authority (Texas) considers a ban of coal tar sealers.  All editorial comments are mine.Direct Studies of Human Health and Coal Tar SealcoatWilliams, E. S.; Mahler, B. J.; Van Metre, P. C. Coal-tar pavement sealants might substantially increase children"s PAH exposures. Environ. Pollut. 2012. This "New Initiatives" article in Environmental Pollution estimates that, although dietary ingestion has long been thought to be the primary route of human exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), for children 3-5 years of age living in residences adjacent to parking lots with coal-tar-based sealcoat, non-dietary ingestion of PAHs (i.e., ingestion of house dust) is about 2.5 times that of dietary ingestion.Williams, E. S.; Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Human Health. University of Connecticut PAH Seminar, November 2011.This is a video summary of Dr. Williams" findings. For the first time, a toxicologist  publicly presented the probable risks to children exposed to dust tracked into homes from coal tar pavement sealants.  An excess risk of 1 in 10,000 was estimated.  Federal law deems this risk "unacceptable" and is "sufficient basis" for action.1  The professor from Baylor University, Dr. Spencer Williams, stated additional studies are warranted."CSA"-coal tar sealant affectedfrom Site Remediation Planning and Management by J. Andy Soesilo, Stephanie R. Wilson, p,2431.Mackerer, C. R. et al; Mutagenicity and PAC Content of Seal Coatings for Asphalt Pavement. 16th  International Conference on Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds, November 1997. We continue to hear some say that coal tar sealants have the toxic ingredients refined out (generally polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAH). This in spite of the laboratory levels of showing extremely high concentrations. A few years ago, I came across this research that got little attention when presented back in 1997. It pre-dates any of the current understanding of the problem of coal tar sealants. The lead author is the retired head of the Mobil Corporation"s research laboratory. He developed an index to rate the mutagenicity of chemical solutions called the Ames Index. It has been used on other coal or petroleum products as well.Dr. Mackerer decided to do this study after seeing some college students sealing his neighborhood"s driveways. He wondered just how toxic the sealants are. So he went to a hardware store and bought 12 separate products. As the above graph shows, anything above 1.0 is considered a mutagen. The coal tar sealants are an average of about 450! Dr. Mackerer said that while the absolute number can go higher, after a few hundred the real mutagenicity is maxed out .The only problem with this is that it has never been published, but is only a collection of slides summarizing the team"s work.Mahler, B.J.; Van Metre, P.C.; Crane, J.L.; Watts, A.W.; Scoggins, M.; Williams, E.S., Coal-tar-based Pavement Sealcoat and PAHs: Implications for the Environment, Human Health, and Stormwater Management. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2012.This paper compiles the state of our knowledge about the environmental and human health effects of coal tar sealant as well as the status of legislative action has just been published. In addition to the USGS, contributors included the State of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the University of New Hampshire, Baylor University and the City of Austin. The intent of the report is to present much of what has already been published in one document with new information on human health effects and the volatilization of curing sealant.U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, Public Health Service Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Division of Health Assessment and Consultation: Health Consultation for Leander Independent School District, Proposed Elementary School #19, (Grandview Hills Elementary), Austin, Travis County, Texas, EPA FACILITY ID: TXN000606777, February 13, 2008.For years it was hoped that the federal government toxicologists would just look at the safety of children exposed to coal tar sealants. A few years ago it was discovered that they already had, but it was coincidental. A school district outside of Austin, Texas (Leander) was looking to build a new elementary school. They purchased a property that met their needs except that it had been a chemical research facility. When parents found out, many were very upset. So upset that they got the attention of their elected officials, who in turn brought in the feds (more specifically the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry ATSDR, who routinely does this kind of work).They tested the soil and analyzed the risks. They found relatively high levels (69 mg/kg, but nothing near the highest in pavement dust by the USGS: 3200 mg/kg) of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the soil near where there were parking lots and the source was determined to be coal tar pavement sealants. The levels were sufficient to increase cancer risk in a low to moderate range if it remained at the proposed site. As a result soils were removed under the description of "remediaton."Keifer, K; Summary of Preliminary Evaluation of Potential Risks from Existing Coal Tar Sealants,  Environmental Resources Management, Inc. April 2010. In 2009 the Austin Independent School District (AISD) began to look into this issue at their schools. Below is a link to an interview that was made just as the study was getting started. Since then their toxicologist consultant found that there exist 5 complete CTS exposure pathways from paved surface to child or adult at the school! AISD has since begun a program to prioritize and remove all coal tar sealant remnants from their facilities.  They are the first in the nation to do so.  An exposure pathway is defined by the ATSDR as follows:The route a substance takes from its source (where it began) to its end point (where it ends), and how people can come into contact with (or get exposed to) it. An exposure pathway has five parts: a source of contamination (such as an abandoned business); an environmental media and transport mechanism (such as movement through groundwater); apoint of exposure (such as a private well); a route of exposure (eating, drinking, breathing, or touching), and a receptor population (people potentially or actually exposed). When all five parts are present, the exposure pathway is termed a completed exposure pathway.Complete Exposure Pathways at Schools from Coal Tar SealantsCoal-tar-based parking lot sealcoat: An unrecognized source of PAH to settled house dust. Mahler, B. J.; Van Metre, P. C.; Wilson, J. T.; Musgrove, M.; Burbank, T. L.; Ennis, T.; Bashara, T. J., Environ. Sci. Technol. 2010, 44, 894-900.This scientific journal article reports that concentrations of PAHs in house dust in residences adjacent to parking lots with coal-tar-sealcoated pavement were 25 times higher than those in house dust in residences adjacent to parking lots with unsealed pavement or pavement with asphalt-based sealcoat.Human Health Studies Regarding PAH EffectsCoal-tars and Derived products. 1985 International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) vol 35, 83 p.This landmark document describes the carcinogenic properties of coal tars and coal-tar pitches, and finds that there is sufficient evidence that coal-tar pitches are carcinogenic in humans.Association of childhood obesity with maternal exposure to ambient air polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons during pregnancy. Rundle A, Hoepner L, Hassoun A, Oberfield S, Freyer G, Holmes D, Reyes M, Quinn J, Camann D, Perera F, Whyatt R; Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Jun 1;175(11):1163-72. Epub 2012 Apr 13. The data indicate that prenatal exposure to PAHs is associated with obesity in childhood.Prenatal Airborne Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Exposure and Child IQ at Age 5, Pediatrics, Jul 20, 2009.Researchers at the Center for Children"s Environmental Health (CCCEH) at the Mailman School of Public Health find that exposure to urban air pollution during pregnancy can result in lower IQ in children. Air pollutants known as PAH’s (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) mostly come from traffic sources, including burning diesel fuel. Burning tobacco also releases PAHs. The result of burning fossil fuels is now linked to lower IQ, and the effects occur before birth.Effect of Prenatal Exposure to Airborne Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons on Neurodevelopment in the First 3 Years of Life among Inner-City Children, Environ Health Perspect. 2006 August.Residential Proximity to Freeways and Autism in the CHARGE Study, Environ Health Perspect. 2011 June.Living near a freeway was associated with autism. Examination of associations with measured air pollutants is needed.Biological and Ecological Health The effects of coal tar based pavement sealer on amphibian development and metamorphosis. 2006. Bryer, P.J., Elliott, J.N., and Willingham, E.J. , Ecotoxicology, vol. 15(3), 241-247. This scientific journal article reports that exposure to sediment contaminated with coal-tar-based pavement sealer resulted in stunted growth and slower development of the frog Xenopus laevis. Coal-tar based pavement sealant toxicity to freshwater macroinvertebrates. Bryer, P.J., Scoggins, M., and McClintock, N.L., 2009. Environmental Pollution, v. 158, no. 5, p. 1932-1937. This scientific journal article reports that exposure to sediment contaminated with coal-tar-based sealcoat resulted in decreased abundance and richness of freshwater macroinvertebrates, an important element in the aquatic food chain. Occurrence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons below coal-tar-sealed parking lots and effects on stream benthic macroinvertebrate communities. Scoggins, M., McClintock, N., Gosselink, L., and Bryer, P., 2007. Journal of the North American Benthological Society, v. 26, no. 4, p. 694-707. This scientific journal article reports a significant decrease in the health of the ecological community downstream from points of discharge of runoff from coal-tar-sealcoated parking lots relative to ecological communities upstream. Toxicity of coal—tar and asphalt sealants to eastern newts, Notophthalmus viridescens. 2010. Bommarito, T., Spading, D.W., and Halbrook, R.S. This scientific journal article reports that exposure of eastern newts to sediment contaminated with coal-tar­based sealcoat resulted in deleterious effects, including difficulty right themselves, impaired ability to swim, and diminished liver enzyme activities. Toxicity of coal-tar pavement sealants and ultraviolet radiation to Ambystoma Maculatwn. 2010. Bommarito, T., Sparling, D.W., and Halbrook, R.W. This scientific journal articles reports that spotted salamanders exposed to sediment contaminated with coal-tar-based sealcoat in sediment had slower rates of growth and diminished ability to swim. Subsequent exposure to ultra-violet radiation resulted in genetic damage.Coal Tar Sealant Concentrations, Use, and MobilityCoal-tar-based pavement sealcoat, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and environmental health. Mahler, B.J., and Van Metre, P.C., 2011, U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011-3010, 6 p. http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2011/3010/This USGS fact sheet provides an overview of the ways in which coal-tar-based sealcoat contaminates pavement dust, lake sediment, and house dust. Coal-tar-based pavement sealcoat and PAHs: Implications for the environment, human health, and stormwater management. Mahler, B.J.; Van Metre, P.C.; Crane, J.L.; Watts, A.W.; Scoggins, M.; Williams, E.S., Environ. Sci. Technol., 2012. This Feature article in Environmental Science and Technology summarizes the ways in which coal-tar­based sealcoat contaminates stormwater runoff, lake sediment, soil, house dust, and air, and implications for human and biological health and stormwater management. Parking lot sealcoat: An unrecognized source of urban PAHs. Mahler, B. J.; Van Metre, P. C.; Bashara, T. J.; Wilson, J. T.; Johns, D. A., Environ. Sci. Technol. 2005, 39, (15), 5560-5566. This article was the first to report the potential for coal-tar-based pavement sealcoat to be an important source of PAH contamination. The study of runoff from 13 parking lots found that concentrations of PAHs in particles in runoff from pavement with coal-tar-based sealcoat was, on average, 65 times higher than concentrations in particles in runoff from unsealed asphalt parking lots.Contamination of Stormwater Pond Sediments by Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Minnesota: The Role of Coal Tar-based Sealcoat Products as a Source of PAHs. Crane, J.L., Grosenheider, K., and Wilson, C.B., 2010, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 64 p.This white paper by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency describes the filling of stormwater ponds with PAH-contaminated sediments, the expense of deposing of the sediments, and the likelihood that coal-tar­based pavement sealants are a substantial contributor to the problem.Concentrations of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Major and Trace Elements in Simulated Rainfall Runoff from Parking Lots, Austin, Texas, 2003. Mahler, Barbara J.; Van Metre, Peter C.; Wilson, Jennifer T. 2004. USGS OFR 2004-1208. http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2004/1208/This report was subject to an "Information Quality Act" challenge from the sealcoat industry, to which the USGS responded. A press release summarized the USGS response. http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1642&from=rss#.UI3JisXR7tA.  This USGS report provides the data used in Mahler et al., 2005. Trends in Hydrophobic Organic Contaminants in Lake Sediments Across the United States, 1970-2001. Van Metre, P.C. and Mahler, BJ., 2005. Environ. Sci. Technol., v. 39, no. 15, p. 5567-5574. This scientific journal article documents upwards trends in PAH contamination in sediment in urban lakes across the United States. PAHs underfoot: Contaminated dust from coal-tar sealcoated pavement is widespread in the United States. Van Metre, P. C.; Mahler, B. J.; Wilson, J. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2009, 43, (1), 20-25. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2009, 43, (1), 20-25. This scientific journal article reports that concentrations of PAHs in dust swept from parking lots across the central, southern, and eastern U.S.—where coal-tar-based sealcoat use is most common—are in the 1000s of mg/kg, concentrations similar to those in contaminated soils of USEPA Superfund Sites. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in stormwater runoff from sealcoated pavements. Watts, A.W., Ballestero, T.P., Roseen, R.M., and House, J.P., Environ. Sci. Technol. 2010, v. 44(23), 8849-8854.This scientific journal article reports that even partial coverage of a drainage area by coal-tar-based sealant resulted in increased PAH concentrations in sediment. A stormwater swale receiving runoff from both sealed and unsealed lots had PAH concentrations 25 times higher after sealant was applied than prior to sealant application. Influence of coal-tar sealcoat and other carbonaceous materials on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon loading in an urban watershed. Yang, Y., Van Metre, P.C., Mahler, B.J., Wilson, J.T., Ligouis, B., Razzaque, M.M., Schaeffer, D.J., and Werth, CJ., 2010,: Environ. Sci. Technol., v. 44, p. 1217-1223. This scientific journal article reports research using organic petrography to quantitatively determine the proportion of PAHs in dust and soil samples originating as coal-tar pitch. The study found that coal-tar pitch, used in coal-tar-based sealcoat, was a dominant source of PAHs in the watershed, contributing as much as 99% of the PAHs in sealed parking lot dust, 92% in unsealed parking lot dust, 88% in commercial area soil, 71% in streambed sediment, and 84% in surficial lake sediment. Contribution of PAHs from Coal-Tar Pavement Sealcoat and Other Sources to 40 U.S. Lakes. Van Metre, P. C.; Mahler, B. J. Sci. of the Total Environ., 2010, v.409, 334-344.This scientific journal article reports that coal-tar-based sealcoat was, on average, the largest source of PAHs to sediment in 40 U.S. lakes, on the basis of a statistical source-apportionment approach. The article also reported that coal-tar-based sealcoat was the source of upward trends in PAH concentrations in seven of eight urban lakes investigated. Volatilization of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from coal-tar-sealed pavement. Van Metre, P. C.; Majewski, M. S.; Mahler, B. J.; Foreman, W. T.; Braun, C. L.; Wilson, J. T.; Burbank, T. Chemosphere, 2012. This scientific journal article reports PAH releases to air from in-use parking lots with and without coal-tar­based sealcoat. The mass of PAHs released to air per unit area of coal-tar-sealed pavement was 60 times greater than that released from unsealed asphalt pavement, even though in all but one case the sealant had been applied from 3 to 8 years prior to sampling. PAH volatilization following application of coal-tar-based pavement sealant. Van Metre, P. C.; Majewski, M. S.; Mahler, B. J.; Foreman, W. T.; Braun, C. L.; Wilson, J. T.; Burbank, T. Atmos. Environ. 2012.This scientific journal article reports enormous releases of PAHs to the atmosphere (one-quarter to one-half of the PAHs contained in the product) during the 15 days following application of coal-tar-based sealant. The authors estimate that PAH emissions from new coal-tar-based sealcoat applications each year (-1000 Mg) are larger than annual vehicle emissions of PAHs for the United States.Recommended Summer Read: Toms River Last weekend, my wife and I did a 2,000 mile drive for a wedding. With a hectic schedule leading up to our departure, I quickly downloaded a few audio books from our public library to help the miles go by. I covered the usual genres that we enjoy listening together: historical fiction, cultural commentary, and environmental issues.My wife didn"t believe that the download of Toms River was as accidental as I said, especially when the detailed description of the chemistry of coal tar was discussed! Needless to say the early portions of the book reminded her a little too much of conversations she has endured over the last 9 years; so I found myself stealing the listening via earbud while she was sleeping like stolen fruit.My perspective on the book is that it is more of a bridge book that a river book. The author, Dan Fagin, builds a bridge of sorts to the misunderstood worlds of corporate decision-making, environmental science, human misery, organic chemistry, government ineptitude, statistics and epidemiology. No one of us firmly stands in any of those worlds, so Fagin draws us in as a storyteller and a scholar.The story focuses on the events surrounding an infamous chemical plant in Toms River, New Jersey and the subsequent effects on the environment and the community.What does that have to do with the pollution from coal tar pavement sealers? More than you can imagine. Industry denial, a slumbering populus, lemming-like labor, and convenient political avoidance come to mind. In contrast, though, you see the statistical difficulty of proving a cancer cluster in a finite geographical area. Some have begun to try to do the same with coal tar sealer in the US in regions where it is used more prominently. Personally I"m not equipped for that kind of statistical gymnastics.Upon returning home I was pleased to read dozens of positive reviews of the book on Amazon as well as learn that it earned the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.In the same manner that Mr. Fagin sees the toxic coal tar dye industry has moved to offshore, the same is true with coal tar sealers with one exception. The byproducts of the dye industry are left to pollute the manufacturing location whereas the main ingredient in coal tar sealer is a toxic waste product which is made overseas and brought ridiculously back to North America.Anyone wanting to be a force for positive change in this realm would be wise to absorb this book.Another Coal Tar Sealant Spill  Dead Fish from Boone, NCSo, it has happened again.  Another documented case of runoff pollution after a coal tar sealant application.   This time it is in Andover, Massachusetts during the first week of October 2010.  Many of these go unreported.  Some industry applicators say this is just part of doing business!  Perhaps the easiest way to prevent this is to not apply coal tar sealants at all.The following news article has a few misunderstandings about the product and its general terms, but the core facts are the same.Cleanup ongoing at site of liquid asphalt spill (see below)Earlier this year it also occurred in Boone, North Carolina and a well-documented video was made of the trout kill downstream of the parking lot source.   Hats off to Donna Lisenby and the Upper Watauga Riverkeepers for putting this together!Coal Tar Sealant Causes Fish Kill in North CarolinaAndover Townsman, Andover, MAOctober 7, 2010Cleanup ongoing at site of liquid asphalt spillBy Dustin Lucadluca@andovertownsman.comWork is underway to clean up what the town considers a significant spill after as many as 100 gallons of liquid asphalt leaked into catch basins near a business park.The incident occurred after parking lot sealer ran off parking lots at 10 New England Business Center Drive shortly after two coats of cold tar-based liquid asphalt were applied, said Joe Ferson, spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection. Rain started to fall shortly after workers applied the second coat, Ferson said.The cold tar-based asphalt used to seal the parking lot is made of refined coal tar, clay and water. The tar itself is not considered to be significantly toxic, but the sheer volume of the spill had officials concerned, according to Ferson.The town learned of the leaking asphaslt material when Highway Superintendent Christopher Cronin received a call from an unknown person about something awry at the parking lot, according to Bob Douglas, Andover conservation director."He had gotten an anonymous tip about what was described as an oily washout from a recently resurfaced parking lot," Douglas said.Once he was notified, Douglas arrived at the scene, where he said he was met by work crews. "The first thing out of their mouth was that they had contacted their insurance company," Douglas said.The material was running off the lot into a number of places, including storm drains that lead into underground streams connected to the Merrimack River, according to Ferson.Further complicating the cleanup process was the fact that the incident went unreported to the Department of Environmental Protection, according to Douglas. The DEP should"ve been notified within a few hours, he said.It is believed that as many as 100 gallons of the liquid asphalt material spilled into contaminated areas before being brought under control, a volume that extends far beyond the acceptably safe amount, Douglas said.Cleanup of the site is requiring vacuum excavation and hand excavation throughout the affected areas of the property, which includes catch basin outfalls surrounding the parking lot, according to Douglas.The storm drains are also being cleaned out, Ferson said."I"m glad whoever called it in did, since we probably wouldn"t have gotten the cleanup if it wasn"t engaged right away," Douglas said.The cause of the problem is under investigation, and the amount of time it will take to fully clean the area is unknown, Ferson said Tuesday.T&K Asphalt Services Inc., which was contracted to seal the parking lot, could not be reached for comment after business hours on Tuesday evening.The End of State Coal Tar Bans As We Know It The following letter comes from Andy Igrejas of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families group. In it he lets us know that if a version of a bill is reconciled in Congress, a state"s authority to ban toxic chemicals would be blocked. We have seen with coal tar sealers a toothless EPA and a distracted Congress pushes the safety of our communities down to the state and local level. Please join me in contacting your representatives to prevent this portion of the bill from becoming law.Tom-As you know, both the House and Senate passed versions of TSCA reform last year. Our coalition articulated a vision for how to combine the best of both bills in a March 1st letter that many of you signed.Staff from both chambers have been working since to reconcile the two bills into final legislation and they are expected to bring it to the floor of both houses next week. This part of the legislative process is often the most secretive, and there is a lot of uncertainty, which has made advocacy difficult. Nevertheless, most indications we"ve had have been reasonably positive, with one major exception:states could be blocked from restricting a toxic chemical even when EPA action is years away. The prohibition on state action (called "preemption") is triggered when EPA prioritizes a chemical and publishes the scope of its prospective review. The process could take up to four years for EPA to make a safety decision, and an additional three before EPA puts needed restrictions in place. We have opposed this provision all along. It was in the Senate bill, but not the House bill. The House bill does not preempt until EPA has either taken its own action or declared the chemical safe. The Senate, backed by the chemical industry, is insisting that preemption happen much earlier. The early preemption is unprecedented as a policy and it has the effect of delaying needed public health interventions for up to four years. During that time, whatever population the state was planning to protect (fire fighters, pregnant women, etc.) will instead be exposed. That is why we are making a big deal about this: bottom line, this provision will result in people being exposed to toxic chemicals who otherwise wouldn"t be. So please take the time to contact your congressional delegation (sample call language below), particularly in the House, both Republicans and Democrats. Urge them to oppose the Senate early preemption provision in any final legislation. In principle, it is an unprecedented intrusion on states" rights. In practice, it exposes people to toxic chemicals who would otherwise not be exposed. On both grounds, therefore, it should be defeated. If you don"t communicate with your delegation this week, the provision could be law by the end of next week. If you have any questions about the policy details, your own Congressional delegation, or you need more materials, please don"t hesitate to contact me (andyigrejas@saferchemicals.org), Liz Hitchock (lizhitchcock@saferchemicals.org), or Beth Kemler (bethkemler@saferchemicals.org).  Sincerely, AndyPS: Get your members and coalition partners to call Congress too! Sample Call To CongressI’m calling to express my concern about the conference of the two chemical safety reform bills that the House and Senate both passed last year. I understand that final legislation could come to the floor of both chambers under bill number HR 2576 as early as next week. The chemical lobby has mounted a major push to ensure that a Senate provision that prohibits states from restricting a toxic chemical while EPA reviews the safety of that chemical is included in the final package. This is an unprecedented intrusion on states" rights.States have led the way in restricting toxic chemicals, most recently in the area of toxic flame retardants. Several bills to restrict flame retardants are currently pending in state legislatures - supported by firefighters. The Senate bill’s provision would shut that activity down. That would lead to a delay of up to four years before any action was taken -- a delay that would result in potentially millions of people being exposed to toxic chemicals who otherwise would not be. The House version of reform did not include this provision and it must not be in the final bill. Representative/Senator [__________] should stand strong against any bill that blocks states from protecting their citizens from toxic chemicals. America Responds to Washington Ban This week"s signing of the first statewide, coal tar sealant ban spread throughout the nation and the world.  Response to the MSNBC article, "State Bans Coal Tar Sealants in Big Win for Foes; Toxic Ingredients Turning up in Water, House Dust, Researchers Say" has been overwhelming.  The first three sentences of the article are compelling:Washington state has become the first in the nation to ban toxic asphalt sealants made from cancer-causing industrial waste that have been spread over vast swaths of the nation’s cities and suburbs. The toxic ingredients in coal tar-based sealants are turning up in ordinary house dust as well as in streams, lakes and other waterways at levels that concern government researchers. The chemicals have been found in driveways at concentrations that could require treatment by moon-suited environmental technicians if detected at similar levels at a toxic-waste cleanup site. The sealants are also applied on playgrounds and parking lots. The article goes on to discuss the status of bans across the country, summary of research findings, and a quote from the EPA on the topic.At last count over 200 comments have been received.  Of course there are a few pre-recorded rants from the usual suspects and those who have a political ax to grind regardless of the topic, but many thoughtful comments were received.  Frequently these comments are just vapors that are here today and gone tomorrow.  I thought it might be fun to summarize some of them to hear what many are thinking.  I apologize in advance for my editing of the posts for brevity and readability and I have attempted not to take statements out of context.  Views expressed here are not necessarily the view of this blog."Remember, the road to hell is paved with good intentions."  Yeah, but it"s sealed with coal tar.... Taterwheel I think the state of Washington was smart to stop these toxins that are hurting people and the waters. ...Mr. Cool "...may suffer from lower IQs..."Well, now we know one of the reasons for the dumbing down of America. Coal tar sealant is right up there with "Jersey Shore" for making us a bit more stupid as each day passes....PD in CAsort of sounds like the tobacco industry arguments from a while ago!!  They know the stuff will harm people, but they just dont care because money/profits trump moral responsibility every time.... Leprechaun1230Well, I"m glad Washington State has taken this action - and the news story told me things I didn"t know. I have already sent this to my City Council member in Tampa, Florida, to get the same thing done here. ....John A. 400474 They"ve known about this for quite some time. Not only did they sit back and do nothing, they put it on playgrounds. That"s @!$%#in" disgusting. ...RiverDog1572451 Yay Washington State, keep it up. At lest there may be someplace not toxic to live in. But why is it we keep having to ban the use of products already in use. Should you not have to prove your product made from the toxic waste from another industry is safe before we start letting you spay it around? ...ReliantI don"t see that it matters that these carcinogens occur in other matierials, they are present in this sealent. It is a totally unnecessary item, easily replaced by a far less poisonous substance. What I don"t quite get is why it is allowed anywhere? I also would like to see lobbyists and others held legally responsible for advocating the use of unnecessarily dangerous matierials, flying in the face of strong scientific evidence. ...rFaber9Overhaul of Coal Tar Free America Underway After 3 years of continuous tinkering with this site"s look and feel, it was time for a major overhaul.What you see today is, hopefully, an improved interface, easier navigation, better viewing on all types of devices, and some aids for both frequent and first time visitors.While there are still a few annoyances which will continue to be corrected or populated, I hope you agree that this is an improved look.  Some of the specific improvements I like are:the automatically-generated related posts at the end of each post; a more uniform designa VERY user friendly search box (try it, it is very easy on the eyes)a slide show of older postsa better layout of recent postsa collection of videos with thumbnailsYet to be done is fixing the banner at the top of the page and I"m not loving how it looks on some smaller devices. Sorry about that! Enjoy and let me know if you have any comments or suggestions.Thank you for those who have worked with us on this.  It is appreciated!Rosenthal Coal Tar Bill Overwhelmingly Passes New York Assembly Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal With over 80% of assemblymembers in favor, New York Assembly Bill A07854 has moved on to the New York Senate. The bill calls for the phase-out of both the sale and application of coal tar pavement sealants."I am proud that the Assembly has passed my legislation, which would prohibit the sale and use of pavement products containing coal tar. As byproducts of coal processing, coal tar contains high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), many of which are known human carcinogens," said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal."When applied on driveways and parking lots, PAHs can contaminate local water supplies. Not only do these substances jeopardize our fish and aquatic life, but PAH contamination of household dust endangers small children who could accidentally ingest it. It is now up to the Senate to join the Assembly in passing legislation that will protect both the health of our environment and the health of the people of New York State."Bill co-sponsors included:Assemblymember Amy Paulin  Assemblymember Barbara Lifton Assemblyman Dean Murray Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick Assemblyman Felix Ortiz Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. Assemblymember Joan L. Millman Assemblyman Mark Weprin Assemblyman Peter M. Rivera Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried Assemblyman Thomas J. Abinanti Assemblymember Vivian E. Cook When Popular Isn't Good Enough Ah the accolades of peers! ....the adoration of the masses!Sometimes it just isn"t good enough!Don"t get me wrong. I"m not saying this is the status of this site, by any means.However about two months ago, Stormwater Magazine published a story about the decline of PAHs in Austin, Texas since the ban of coal tar pavement sealers there in 2005. This, in and of itself, is tremendously big news as we have covered elsewhere on this site (Austin Now a Million Pounds Lighter, Austin Emerging from Coal Tar Stupor, and Doggett: USGS Study a Wake Up Call for America).Stormwater Magazine"s story is currently ranked among the top 5 most popular articles on their site over the last two months. One may fairly accurately surmise that this is unique, never-heard-before-news to the stormwater professional and they recognize it as such. It really isn"t much more than the USGS announcement. So what"s the problem?We need more than just stormwater professionals to be informed and interested. Instead we need more stormwater professionals to speak their minds in the public arena rather than waiting to see which way the political winds will blow. At a minimum, offer coal tar sealer bans like a chef"s special at a restaurant: highly recommended, but not mandatory.Sometimes this happens with positive results: like the senior engineer in the District of Columbia"s Department of the Environment who first suggested a ban of coal tar pavement sealers there or the one who wrote it in the stormwater master plan for the Village of Winnetka. I would suggest that in nearly all cases someone was willing to step out of the business-as-usual flow and let their opinion be heard.I have also seen that owning an opinion and expressing it on this topic, as kindly as possible, can be a detriment to one"s career. But let me say that those brave professionals would tell you that the satisfaction of professional integrity is worth more than any relatively meager career advancement!Calling Out and On Stormwater Professionals: Take a Stand Against Coal Tar Sealers I"m calling on stormwater professionals to do the unexpected: put your name out there as someone who supports the increased regulation of toxic, coal tar pavement sealers.A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice.  A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.During the last ten years, we have learned that coal tar pavement pollution creates a rare situation confronting stormwater professionals: direct human health effects from a stormwater pollutant. Contaminated dust in apartments with coal tar sealed parking lots increase cancer risks to children over 38 times. This prompted the Baylor University toxicologist to say: "The increased cancer risk associated with coal-tar-sealed asphalt likely affects a large number of people in the U.S. Exposure to these compounds in settled house dust is a particularly important source of risk for children younger than six years of age, as they are expected to ingest this material at higher rates." Yet, the practice of using coal tar sealers even on playgrounds continues through much of the US. The USGS and Baylor University has found that the cancer risk rates rival that of Superfund sites.In 2015 research showed the runoff from surfaces sealed with coal tar products are toxic to common aquatic organisms over 100 days after application even though the product information states that a mere 24 to 48 hours of curing is sufficient. In short, over 15 federal, state, university and local entities have concluded there are major problems with this product.And a recent Water Environment Federation poll found stormwater professionals desire regulatory changes that drive actual stormwater improvements. Within just 10 years after a coal tar sealer ban went into effect Austin, Texas, the PAH pollution in their major receiving waterbody dropped 58%!Speaking of the Water Environment Federation, they recently took a pass at making a stand against coal tar sealers!During this time communities across the country have banned this product. These 18 million Americans under a ban represent less than 10% of the US population. Yet many efforts to regulate the use of coal tar pavement sealers have failed, due in part, to a lack of strong support from professionals and the community at-large.However some stormwater professionals have spoken up to eliminate product from their communities through state agencies, local governments and consulting firms performing master plans. I know of many stormwater professionals who work behind the scenes to influence the process. The sad reality is that fear exists in letting that support be known to colleagues. Nonetheless welcome support has come from local, regional or state organizations like the:Maine Water Environment AssociationDuPage River/Salt Creek Workgroup of suburban ChicagoMinnesota League of CitiesMetropolitan Area Planning Council of the greater Boston areaThe fundamental question here is this: do we as a community of professionals know enough to take action? Are we prepared to speak up in our communities? Or are we putting our hopes into a national or regional legislative agenda without the requisite support to get such legislation to pass?Are stormwater professionals the types who wait for others to tell them how to do stormwater management, or will we lead our communities and this continent? Will we wait for others to take this on? Or will we presume it is the role of non-profit, environmental organizations?Let’s not be naïve here. A strong contingent exists in the industry which opposes any attempt to regulate their products. If you speak up in your sphere of influence, you may be vilified, deemed “too political” by your colleagues, be denied the ability to speak, or suffer economic consequences. Are we willing to do this as a community of professionals? This is generally uncharted territory for our profession, but all of those have happened to spoke up on this issue.Yes this industry is at a crossroads. On the one hand, is the path of abdication, where we relegate the responsibility of setting the agenda to others who are willing to speak up or the other, which is a path of leadership and commitment beyond paychecks and platitudes. If you are willing to do the latter, then I would encourage you to sign your name in the comment area of this article. The commemoration of Dr. King"s birthday is to be one of service to your community. Many of you could do that here.“We stand now where two roads diverge... The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road-the one less traveled by-offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.” Rachel Carson, Silent Spring"We Are the First, We Won't Be the Last," Ban Officially Passes Washington Legislature! From the Washington Environmental Council: First in nation ban on toxic coal tar sealants passes WA state legislatureSealants contain high levels of toxic substances, posing threat to public healthOLYMPIA – Today, the Washington State Legislature enacted a first-in-the-nation ban on toxic coal tar sealants, a substance responsible for significant stormwater pollution and toxic contamination in lakes and waterways across the country. ESHB 1721 prohibits the sale of coal tar in Washington in 2012 and prevents the application of coal tar in 2013. “Washington has long been a leader preventing exposure to harmful toxins,” said Joan Crooks of the Washington Environmental Council. “This bill is another big step forward to ensure we are protecting children’s health and the environment from harmful water pollutants.” Coal tar is a byproduct from the use of coal in steel manufacturing. Coal tar sealant is one of a variety of available products that are applied to driveways, parking lots and playgrounds. Recent United States Geological Service (USGS) studies have shown that coal tar sealant contains high levels of suspected carcinogens. Coal tar residues are tracked into homes, exposing children to the toxins, and through toxic stormwater runoff are washed into lakes and rivers, polluting them.  While coal tar is not widely used in Washington, it is available. The USGS tested only two lakes in the state, Lake Washington and Lake Ballinger, and found coal tar contamination in both.“I’m proud we passed the first statewide ban against this nasty toxic threat before it can further contaminate our waters and threaten the health of our people,” said Rep. David Frockt, who sponsored the bill. “We are the first, but we won’t be the last, because we are leading the nation in the right direction.”Cleaning up coal tar contamination is expensive:  cities and businesses spend millions of dollars every year cleaning up contaminated sediments, including pollution from coal tar.  A number of local jurisdictions across the country, including cities in Texas, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, have banned coal tar. However, Washington is the first state in the country to take this important action.  Despite strong opposition from the Virginia based coal tar industry association, the Washington legislature passed the coal tar ban with bi-partisan support. Washington’s action on this issue is timely; tomorrow, the United States Congress is holding hearings on the toxicity and problem associated with coal tar.  Tales From the Front: What Coal Tar Contractors are Telling Their Customers A letter is being circulated around among contractors that continue to use coal tar sealants. They use it to convince their customers to continue to use this toxic product.  Isn"t it amazing that this was the most read article among sealcoating contractors in 2012 and 2013? It was written from a contractor to his client to assure the client that all this talk about coal tar sealant pollution is bunk. In my opinion this is the chaos that is created when our regulatory agencies don"t step up and show leadership that their own research shows is a problem. Until that happens, we will continue to challenge flabby thinking on this issue.When I first read this letter on the Paveman Pro website, I wrote a response to be published on this website, but the editor felt that my response was too personal and would not publish it.  My intent was to be respectful but straightforward. Apparently it was too straightforward!Well I guess that is what a blog is for! My intent is not to make personal attacks, but to show the fallacy of the arguments made.If you don"t want to wade into this point-by-point, then let"s here"s my summary. This letter is full of the following:ExaggerationsUnderstatementsConcealmentsEquivocations (the use of a vague expressions, especially in order to mislead):False statementsIt"s a pretty sad reality if this is what it takes to sell your product.What follows is a point-point response to the comments made by the contractor. The original text of the letter is in italics and Coal Tar Free America"s response is in bold. The main point being responded to is highlighted. Some of the comments have links so then click the text and you"ll go to the link.Dear John,I know there is somewhat of a controversy brewing regarding the safety of coal tar sealer in relation to the environment and humans, and this is not the first time I"ve had to address this issue. With bans popping up all over the nation, I think we are beyond the "brewing" stage!Let me start by stating that I have been in this industry since 1980, and started Asphalt Enterprises in 1983. There aren"t too many contractors in the United States who have been responsible for more gallons of coal tar sealer applied than myself, and we are the number one applicator in the Atlanta area, and have been for years. Let me also state that I have no dog in this fight, that is, coal tar sealer vs. asphalt emulsion sealer, since we can apply either material, and have applied a fair amount of asphalt emulsion sealer in the past. This is a false statement. Yes you don"t have a dog in this hunt. You have TWO: Pride & Money. If what the environmentalists have been saying is true, then your pride may resist that for 32 years your efforts, which may be innocent, have been responsible for environmental and economic harm. What I like to look at are the facts, based on unbiased, untainted scientific studies, and also common sense and my years of experience. This is a false statement. Really? Facts? Many of these points are based in "myths" not facts. Here are some common sealer myths debunked:Myth of "controversial" coal tar sealant science.Myth that the ban in Austin had no effect.Myth of "flawed" USGS studies.Unbiased? The only research that dismisses the impacts of coal tar sealers is industry-sponsored. Industry-hired research does not meet the standard as set by the National Academy of Sciences concerning a conflict of interest (Conflict of interest is defined as any financial or other interest which conflicts with the service of an individual because it could impair the individual"s objectivity...).Also as a side note, all pavement coatings manufacturers produce both coal tar sealer and asphalt emulsion sealer, so actually their studies are also unbiased. They are just convinced, and rightfully so, that coal tar sealer is a superior pavement coating.This is a concealment. Just because someone manufacturers both kinds of products does not make them unbiased. Sealant manufacturers may be biased for a number of reasons including equipment infrastructure, quality of their products, liability, supply chain, profitability, etc..  Environmentalists recently have upped their efforts on having coal tar sealer banned, based mainly on the results of two studies , one in Austin, Texas, and the other performed by the U.S. Geological Survey. This is a concealment and means to imply that there is limited information on this issue. There are close to 25 scientific publications that include coal tar sealants and they have been done by local agencies, universities, the USGS, the EPA, states, and a division of the Centers for Disease Control. There were just 2 studies 7 years ago, but much has changed since then. Links and abstracts of most of the studies can be found at this post on this site: Human Health, Coal Tar Sealants, & PAHs: the State of the Science. Unfortunately for the environmentalists, both studies have been proven to be flawed by independent researchers. Please visit the following links for a more detailed explanation of the flawed studies.http://www.pavemanpro.com/article/the_facts_about_refined_coal_tar_sealers_pahs/http://www.pavementcouncil.org/pavementcouncil/mag32010.pdfhttp://www.pavementcouncil.org/pavementcouncil/austinnochange.pdfhttp://www.forconstructionpros.com/article/10628260/pctc-fights-for-refined-tar-based-sealerI did a post about that entitled, The Myth of Flawed USGS Studies, which traces the origin of these mis-statements. In 2010, Springfield, Missouri tried to have a ban placed on coal tar sealer, and put it in front of the city council for a vote. Below is a link to a letter submitted by a property developer who owns shopping centers in Missouri, trying to convince the city council to reject the ban. This developer had very positive experiences with coal tar sealer, and very negative experiences with asphalt emulsion sealer (I"ll touch on that below). By the way, the ban was rejected.http://www.pavementcouncil.org/pavementcouncil/SpringfieldDeveloper.pdfWhile it is true that Springfield did vote against a ban in 2010, here"s an update. The University of Missouri and the City of Springfield did a joint study and found coal tar sealants are a pervasive stream pollutant there. The ban may be revisited as a result.The developer comment is a concealment. The developer had this experience more than a decade ago in the infancy of asphalt-based sealer development. That"s like saying "I"m not going to get one of those cell phones because I used one 20 years ago and it weighed over 10 pounds!"John, as you can see there has been a huge "rush to judgement" regarding the banning of coal tar sealer. One of the city council members who voted against the ban made very good sense when she stated that she heard evidence from Phd"s stating that coal tar sealer was harmful, and she heard evidence from Phd"s stating that it was not harmful and they provided the research to prove it was not harmful. In the end she said there was no compelling evidence to believe that coal tar was harmful.While people may disagree on what a "rush" is, but dozens of studies, by multiple scientists, throughout the nation, over nearly a decade now, is no "rush" to judgment in my opinion.This same Springfield councilwoman said in the local newspaper, “I think this (University of Missouri Study) makes it clear that coal tar is the problem,” she said. “Now the question becomes, what are we gonna do about it?"Let me just take a minute to explain the difference between coal tar sealer and asphalt emulsions. Coal tar sealer has been around for over 60 years, and coal tar was chosen over asphalt emulsion as a better raw material based on its ability to prevent the intrusion of gas, oil, and other petroleum products from damaging the pavement, and the very hard film that coal tar forms over the pavement, making it very durable to heavy traffic. Asphalt emulsions are used as a raw material in sealer only as a substitute, in areas where coal tar is not available, and has proven to be an inferior substitute . Asphalt emulsion sealers only last a couple of years, only one coat can be applied in a day, wash out areas are very common. Where was this "proven?" Both asphalt-based sealers and coal tar sealants vary dramatically in quality and price. I have seen asphalt-based sealcoat outperform, in all aspects, coal tar sealants. Here"s more information about the acceptability of alternative products to coal tar sealers:Asphalt sealers preferred for pavement maintenance by #1 think tank for asphalt, the Asphalt Institute.The FAA has written asphalt-based sealers into the new federal specification for airports.Some asphalt sealers are more fuel resistant than coal tar sealers.In closing I just want to state some facts regarding coal tar:- The FDA has approved coal tar for decades as a base ingredient for skin creams and shampoos that fight certain skin conditions. It is very odd that the FDA would approve coal tar to be applied to the skin and scalp IF it was harmful. The amount of PAH"s produced by these items is far higher than that in coal tar sealer. Not sure why the environmentalists aren"t fighting the FDA and pharmacuetical companies to have coal tar banned from skin creams and shampoos. This fact ALONE should dispell any belief that coal tar sealer is harmful.Coal tar shampoo is a common dodge by the industry. There is a huge difference between a medicated product used in a controlled manner versus a pavement product that as it cures and wears indiscriminately exposes children, adults and the environment. In the same way, radiation therapy is a valid approach to treating cancer, but just because that is true, does not make putting radioactive iodine on parking lots necessarily safe.- In the over 60 years that coal tar sealer has been used, there is no study that shows any harmful affects to humans or animal life attributed to coal tar sealer.I recognize you are busy but have you actually read the any of the studies that show this product harms aquatic organisms? Here"s a list with concluding summary:The effects of coal tar based pavement sealer on amphibian development and metamorphosis. 2006. Bryer, P.J., Elliott, J.N., and Willingham, E.J. , Ecotoxicology, vol. 15(3), 241-247. This scientific journal article reports that exposure to sediment contaminated with coal-tar-based pavement sealer resulted in stunted growth and slower development of the frog Xenopus laevis. Coal-tar based pavement sealant toxicity to freshwater macroinvertebrates. Bryer, P.J., Scoggins, M., and McClintock, N.L., 2009. Environmental Pollution, v. 158, no. 5, p. 1932-1937. This scientific journal article reports that exposure to sediment contaminated with coal-tar-based sealcoat resulted in decreased abundance and richness of freshwater macroinvertebrates, an important element in the aquatic food chain. Occurrence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons below coal-tar-sealed parking lots and effects on stream benthic macroinvertebrate communities. Scoggins, M., McClintock, N., Gosselink, L., and Bryer, P., 2007. Journal of the North American Benthological Society, v. 26, no. 4, p. 694-707. This scientific journal article reports a significant decrease in the health of the ecological community downstream from points of discharge of runoff from coal-tar-sealcoated parking lots relative to ecological communities upstream. Toxicity of coal—tar and asphalt sealants to eastern newts, Notophthalmus viridescens. 2010. Bommarito, T., Spading, D.W., and Halbrook, R.S. This scientific journal article reports that exposure of eastern newts to sediment contaminated with coal-tar­based sealcoat resulted in deleterious effects, including difficulty right themselves, impaired ability to swim, and diminished liver enzyme activities. Toxicity of coal-tar pavement sealants and ultraviolet radiation to Ambystoma Maculatwn. 2010. Bommarito, T., Sparling, D.W., and Halbrook, R.W.  This scientific journal articles reports that spotted salamanders exposed to sediment contaminated with coal-tar-based sealcoat in sediment had slower rates of growth and diminished ability to swim. Subsequent exposure to ultra-violet radiation resulted in genetic damage. -Coal tar sealer is NOT and has NEVER been classified as a hazardous material by the EPA.This is a concealment. The active ingredient in coal tar sealants is coal tar pitch, which has something like a serial code definition called a "chemical abstract service" or CAS number. For coal tar pitch it is CAS No: 65996-93-2. According to the USEPA, "Coal tar emulsion sealants can contain up to 35% refined coal tar, which is made up of 50% PAHs by mass (NIST 2006)." "PAHs are known carcinogens and are known to be toxic to aquatic life (EPA 1984; Long and Morgan 2000; and Ankley et al., 2003)."The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) states the following:Evidence for carcinogenicity to humans (sufficient)Evidence for carcinogenicity to animals (sufficient)Summary evidence: Coal-tars are carcinogenic to humans-Asphalt emulsions also produce PAH"s, and in fact, since asphalt emulsion wears faster than coal tar sealer, these PAH"s are released into the storm drains and streams at a faster rate. This is a false statement. Because of the exceptional concentration of PAH in coal tar sealants compared to asphalt-based sealers, an asphalt sealant would have to wear off and be re-applied every day to be equivalent to the potency of a coal tar sealer. How is that figured? If a asphalt sealer has 1,000 times less PAHs than coal tar and coal tar lasts about 3 years (about 1,000 days), then the asphalt-based sealer would have to be applied 1000 times more often to equal the same loading.Also PAH"s in asphalt emulsions are lighter than those of coal tar sealer, thus they will stay afloat and wash further down stream, as opposed to coal tar PAH"s which will fall rapidly, attaching to sediments, causing zero affect on PAH levels in the water. Other producers of PAH"s include, tire wear residue, motor oil drippings, car exhaust, hot mix asphalt, jet exhaust, roof shingles, even cigarettes, outdoor grills, volcanos, and forest fires and other outdoor burning, even wood burning in home fireplaces.I"m afraid that the if the environmentalists are successful at banning coal tar sealer, their next step will be to ban asphalt emulsion sealer based on what I stated above. Since asphalt sealers are so much less harmful, this is extremely unlikely. What they don"t realize is, banning sealants in the long run will have a much greater affect on the environment and natural resources. Pavement life will be decreased dramatically, requiring increased levels of asphalt replacement, overlayments, and total replacements. This will require more crude oil to manufacture the asphalt, more rock extracted from our rock quarries, more fuel to manufacture asphalt and raw materials, not to mention the performance of this work. Most asphalt pavements will need to be replaced within 10 years. Did you know that studies have shown that coal tar sealers degrade asphalt and that it isn"t recommended by the leading association for pavement quality in the United States?As an owner and investor in shopping centers, this will also place a financial burden on companies like yours and their investors, not the mention the lack of "curb appeal" which attracts customers to a freshly sealed and well maintained parking lot.Really concerned about the financial burden of the owner? What is the potential cost and liability of cleaning up a parking lot which exceeds federal safety standards for human exposure? Are we willing to attract customers by putting hazardous material on our properties? Would they be so excited to go to these commercial businesses if they knew what is on the parking lot? Today"s asphalt-based sealant stays black for the life of the product. However with as much as 30% of our urban surfaces heat-absorbing black, perhaps it"s time for us to move beyond the black paving aesthetic.With my 32 years working in the sealcoating and paving industry, I have not seen any credible studies showing that coal tar sealer is harmful to humans or the environment. And without hesitation, if I saw any compelling, unbiased study showing it was harmful, I would discontinue it"s use within my company immediately.Thank you John for taking the time to read this, and hopefully it will make a change on how coal tar sealer is viewed.Sincerely,Gerry L. SignsPresidentAsphalt Enterprises, Inc.www.asphaltenterprises.comThere is a ground-swell of sealant contractors that no longer buy that coal tar sealants are harmless and they are switching to asphalt-based sealants. Now is the time for us to freshly look at new information and not be fearful of the future or defensive about past, out-dated practices.Atlanta-Area Neighbors Raise Health Concerns About Parking Lot Sealants From WSB Altanta:By Mike PetchenikSANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — Plans to patch cracks in one Sandy Springs neighborhood have some homeowners concerned for their health and safety. They plan to bring those concerns to state lawmakers. A few weeks ago, neighbors in the Woodcliff Condo complex off Ison Road told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik they received notice from their property management that crews would be sealing cracks in the parking lot with a coal tar-based sealant, which is made from a distillation of crude coal tar. Neighbor Tina Campbell told Petchenik she began to research the product to make sure it was safe for her and the other residents and was shocked to find out it was banned in several states and cities nationwide. "I had no idea,” said Campbell. "It"s been banned in the State of Washington, Austin, Texas and Washington, D.C. It"s been banned in 24 cities in Minnesota." Campbell showed Petchenik studies that have linked the sealant to cancer. “Even once it"s on for three to five years, as it breaks down, it has agents in it known as PAHs, which are known human carcinogens,” said Campbell. Campbell has enlisted support from the past president of a nearby neighborhood called Grogan’s Bluff. Gary Alexander told Petchenik he’s contacted an attorney to see about getting a court order to halt the project, which is scheduled to begin June 3. "I"m concerned about it. My residents are concerned about it,” said Alexander. “Everyone on the street is concerned about it." Alexander and Campbell worry that coal–tar particles will seep into a creek bed behind the condos that feeds directly into the Chattahoochee River. The neighborhood also sits across from an elementary school. “It should be investigated,” said Alexander. “It shouldn"t be allowed to be put down." The engineer overseeing the Woodcliff project spoke to Petchenik by phone and defended use of the product. “I would use it in my own home,” said Ralph Huie. “I would suggest it could be used at a school. I’m absolutely unconcerned.” Huie told Petchenik he’s used the product for 30 years and has had no problems with it. Still, he told Petchenik the condo board would consider an alternative, asphalt-based product based on Campbell’s concerns. “We’re in the helping people business,” he said. “I’m not in the poisoning children and ruining the environment business.”Campbell forwarded Petchenik an email showing the condo association planned to move forward with the tar-based sealant after “consulting with the authorities,” citing its lower cost and product warranty. Campbell told Petchenik her fight isn’t just to stop the product from being used in her neighborhood. "I want to raise a broader awareness now that I know how toxic it is, to get it banned from our city or banned from our state,” she said. Petchenik reached out to the local distributor of the coal-tar based sealant for comment on Campbell’s concerns, but was told the owner didn’t want to speak to him. A spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Atlanta office told Petchenik the agency is currently not regulating the product, but acknowledged that several governments have banned it."On My Honor"... Scouts Lead Community to Ban Coal Tar Sealers First ban of coal tar sealers in Western MichiganCoal tar sealer bans typically result from the interest or drive by a local environmental organization or spearheaded by a particularly interested politician. But a ban brought forward by a bunch of Cub Scouts, that is a first! Cub Scout Den 7 presented their case for why coal tar sealers should be regulated in May. Then the Township did their own investigation and spoke to experts around the country and came to the same conclusion.The ban was brought before the Township Board on July 11th and it unanimously passed. According to the Grand Haven Tribune, who covered the story, the Board left their meeting table to shake hands with the boys and congratulate them."I feel like I"m making the community a little better," said 9 year old, Cameron Braidwood.The ever-important Den Mother, Cheryl Kallio, said she was "very appreciative the decision-makers took the kids seriously and researched the issue.Township Manager Gordon Gallagher said that education will be a cornerstone of the ban which will become effective January 1, 2017.Township Supervisor John Nash said, "It was definitely a good thing for Spring Lake Township and the young men."Not only was this the first ban to be brought by Scouts, but may likely be the first to be celebrated at a local ice cream shop!2015 Update: Research Summary of Human Health, Coal Tar Sealants, & PAHs While our understanding continues to develop on coal tar sealants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and human health, occasionally it is good to pull all of what we know together into a somewhat succinct summary.  That is my hope here. New research has been added since this was first compiled in 2012. In general research has found that coal tar sealers have a profound effect on aquatic species much longer than previously understood; coal tar sealers are a significant contributor to PAH contamination of pond sediment; a ban of coal tar sealers can result in lower environmental concentrations and exposure to PAHs to the mothers of unborn children can affect them years after exposure.There are a few studies that have been done directly on coal tar sealants and human health, but many others that either increase our understanding of the concentrations, use, mobility, and environmental effects of coal tar pavement sealants or those that demonstrate the human health effects of PAH.  The references are presented below in the following categories:Direct Studies of Human Health and Coal Tar SealcoatHuman Health Studies of the Effects of PAHsBiological and Environmental Impacts of Coal Tar SealersCoal Tar Sealant Concentrations, Use and MobilityThese references serve to inform us of the reasonableness of actions to curtail the use and exposure to coal tar pavement sealers. Research which was funded by private industry and does not meet a common standard for unbiased research, is not included.My contention is that when the facts are laid before us, it presents a compelling reason to stop the use of this product especially in areas where children will be exposed.  All editorial comments are mine.Direct Studies of Human Health and Coal Tar SealcoatCancer Risk from Incidental Ingestion Exposures to PAHs Associated with Coal-Tar-Sealed Pavement. Williams, E. S.; Mahler, B. J.; Van Metre, P. C. Environmental Science and Technology, 2013.Doses of carcinogenic PAHs through non-dietary ingestion of house dust in residences with coal-tar sealant on the parking lot are 14 times greater than in residences with unsealed pavement, and are more than twice the dose from dietary ingestion, reversing a long-held assumption that dietary PAH exposure exceeds non-dietary exposure. Living adjacent to coal-tar-sealed pavement (a parking lot or driveway, for example) is estimated to increase excess lifetime cancer risk 38 times, and much of the increased risk occurs during early childhood.Coal-tar pavement sealants might substantially increase children"s PAH exposures. Williams, E. S.; Mahler, B. J.; Van Metre, P. C. Environ. Pollut. 2012.This "New Initiatives" article in Environmental Pollution estimates that, although dietary ingestion has long been thought to be the primary route of human exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), for children 3-5 years of age living in residences adjacent to parking lots with coal-tar-based sealcoat, non-dietary ingestion of PAHs (i.e., ingestion of house dust) is about 2.5 times that of dietary ingestion.Coal-tar-based Pavement Sealcoat and PAHs: Implications for the Environment, Human Health, and Stormwater Management. Mahler, B.J.; Van Metre, P.C.; Crane, J.L.; Watts, A.W.; Scoggins, M.; Williams, E.S., Environ. Sci. Technol., 2012.This paper compiles the state of our knowledge about the environmental and human health effects of coal tar sealant as well as the status of legislative action has just been published. In addition to the USGS, contributors included the State of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the University of New Hampshire, Baylor University and the City of Austin. The intent of the report is to present much of what has already been published in one document with new information on human health effects and the volatilization of curing sealant.Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Human Health. Williams, E. S.; University of Connecticut PAH Seminar, November 2011.This is a video summary of Dr. Williams" findings. For the first time, a toxicologist publicly presented the probable risks to children exposed to dust tracked into homes from coal tar pavement sealants. An excess risk of 1 in 10,000 was estimated. Federal law deems this risk "unacceptable" and is "sufficient basis" for action.1 The professor from Baylor University, Dr. Spencer Williams, stated additional studies are warranted."CSA"-coal tar sealant affectedfrom Site Remediation Planning and Management by J. Andy Soesilo, Stephanie R. Wilson, p,2431.Coal-tar-based parking lot sealcoat: An unrecognized source of PAH to settled house dust. Mahler, B. J.; Van Metre, P. C.; Wilson, J. T.; Musgrove, M.; Burbank, T. L.; Ennis, T.; Bashara, T. J., Environ. Sci. Technol. 2010, 44, 894-900.This scientific journal article reports that concentrations of PAHs in house dust in residences adjacent to parking lots with coal-tar-sealcoated pavement were 25 times higher than those in house dust in residences adjacent to parking lots with unsealed pavement or pavement with asphalt-based sealcoat.Summary of Preliminary Evaluation of Potential Risks from Existing Coal Tar Sealants,  Keifer, K; Environmental Resources Management, Inc. April 2010.In 2009 the Austin Independent School District (AISD) began to look into this issue at their schools. Below is a link to an interview that was made just as the study was getting started. Since then their toxicologist consultant found that there exist 5 complete CTS exposure pathways from paved surface to child or adult at the school! AISD has since begun a program to prioritize and remove all coal tar sealant remnants from their facilities. They are the first in the nation to do so. An exposure pathway is defined by the ATSDR as follows: The route a substance takes from its source (where it began) to its end point (where it ends), and how people can come into contact with (or get exposed to) it. An exposure pathway has five parts: a source of contamination (such as an abandoned business); an environmental media and transport mechanism (such as movement through groundwater); apoint of exposure (such as a private well); a route of exposure (eating, drinking, breathing, or touching), and a receptor population (people potentially or actually exposed). When all five parts are present, the exposure pathway is termed a completed exposure pathway.Complete Exposure Pathways at Schools from Coal Tar SealantsU.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, Public Health Service Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Division of Health Assessment and Consultation: Health Consultation for Leander Independent School District, Proposed Elementary School #19, (Grandview Hills Elementary), Austin, Travis County, Texas, EPA FACILITY ID: TXN000606777, February 13, 2008.For years it was hoped that the federal government toxicologists would just look at the safety of children exposed to coal tar sealants. A few years ago it was discovered that they already had, but it was coincidental. A school district outside of Austin, Texas (Leander) was looking to build a new elementary school. They purchased a property that met their needs except that it had been a chemical research facility. When parents found out, many were very upset. So upset that they got the attention of their elected officials, who in turn brought in the feds (more specifically the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry ATSDR, who routinely does this kind of work).They tested the soil and analyzed the risks. They found relatively high levels (69 mg/kg, but nothing near the highest in pavement dust by the USGS: 3200 mg/kg) of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the soil near where there were parking lots and the source was determined to be coal tar pavement sealants. The levels were sufficient to increase cancer risk in a low to moderate range if it remained at the proposed site. As a result soils were removed under the description of "remediaton."Mutagenicity and PAC Content of Seal Coatings for Asphalt Pavement. Mackerer, C. R. et al; 16th International Conference on Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds, November 1997. We continue to hear some say that coal tar sealants have the toxic ingredients refined out (generally polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAH). This in spite of the laboratory levels of showing extremely high concentrations.A few years ago, I came across this research that got little attention when presented back in 1997. It pre-dates any of the current understanding of the problem of coal tar sealants. The lead author is the retired head of the Mobil Corporation"s research laboratory. He developed an index to rate the mutagenicity of chemical solutions called the Ames Index. It has been used on other coal or petroleum products as well.Dr. Mackerer decided to do this study after seeing some college students sealing his neighborhood"s driveways. He wondered just how toxic the sealants are. So he went to a hardware store and bought 12 separate products. As the above graph shows, anything above 1.0 is considered a mutagen. The coal tar sealants are an average of about 450! Dr. Mackerer said that while the absolute number can go higher, after a few hundred the real mutagenicity is maxed out. The only problem with this is that it has never been published, but is only a collection of slides summarizing the team"s work.Human Health Studies Regarding PAH EffectsEffects of Prenatal Exposure to Air Pollutants (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) on the Development of Brain White Matter, Cognition, and Behavior in Later Childhood. Peterson, B; Rauh,  V; Bansal, R; Hao, X; Toth, Z; Nati, G; Walsh, K; Miller, R; Arias, F; Semanek, D; Perera, F. JAMA Psychiatry, 2015.Our findings suggest that prenatal exposure to PAH air pollutants contributes to slower processing speed, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms, and externalizing problems in urban youth by disrupting the development of left hemisphere white matter, whereas postnatal PAH exposure contributes to additional disturbances in the development of white matter in dorsal prefrontal regions.Association of childhood obesity with maternal exposure to ambient air polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons during pregnancy. Rundle A, Hoepner L, Hassoun A, Oberfield S, Freyer G, Holmes D, Reyes M, Quinn J, Camann D, Perera F, Whyatt R; Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Jun 1;175(11):1163-72. Epub 2012 Apr 13.The data indicate that prenatal exposure to PAHs is associated with obesity in childhood.Prenatal Airborne Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Exposure and Child IQ at Age 5, Pediatrics, Jul 20, 2009.Researchers at the Center for Children"s Environmental Health (CCCEH) at the Mailman School of Public Health find that exposure to urban air pollution during pregnancy can result in lower IQ in children. Air pollutants known as PAH’s (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) mostly come from traffic sources, including burning diesel fuel. Burning tobacco also releases PAHs. The result of burning fossil fuels is now linked to lower IQ, and the effects occur before birth.Effect of Prenatal Exposure to Airborne Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons on Neurodevelopment in the First 3 Years of Life among Inner-City Children, Environ Health Perspect. 2006 August.Residential Proximity to Freeways and Autism in the CHARGE Study, Environ Health Perspect. 2011 June.Living near a freeway was associated with autism. Examination of associations with measured air pollutants is needed.Coal-tars and Derived products. 1985 International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) vol 35, 83 p.This landmark document describes the carcinogenic properties of coal tars and coal-tar pitches, and finds that there is sufficient evidence that coal-tar pitches are carcinogenic in humans.Biological and Ecological Health Exposure to runoff from coal-tar-sealed pavement induces genotoxicity and impairment of DNA repair capacity in the RTL-W1 fish liver cell line. Kienzler, A; Mahler, B; Van Metre, P; Schweigert, N; Devaux, A; Bony, S. Science of the Total Environmental, July 2015.Runoff from coal-tar-sealed pavement, diluted 1:100, causes DNA damage when cells also are exposed to ultra-violet radiation that mimics sunlight.Runoff from coal-tar-sealed pavement, diluted 1:10, impairs the ability of cells to repair DNA damage.Acute Toxicity of Runoff from Sealcoated Pavement to Ceriodaphnia dubia and Pimephales promelas. Mahler, B; Ingersoll, C; Van Metre, P; Kunz, J; Little, E. Environmental Science and Technology, 2015.Runoff from freshly applied coal-tar sealcoat is acutely toxic to two test organisms (fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) and a water flea (Ceriodaphnia dubia)).Toxic effects to test organisms continue for samples collected as long as 111 (3+ months) days following application if organisms also are exposed to ultra-violet light mimicking sunlight.Toxicity of coal—tar and asphalt sealants to eastern newts, Notophthalmus viridescens. 2010. Bommarito, T., Spading, D.W., and Halbrook, R.S. This scientific journal article reports that exposure of eastern newts to sediment contaminated with coal-tar­based sealcoat resulted in deleterious effects, including difficulty right themselves, impaired ability to swim, and diminished liver enzyme activities.Toxicity of coal-tar pavement sealants and ultraviolet radiation to Ambystoma Maculatwn. 2010. Bommarito, T., Sparling, D.W., and Halbrook, R.W. This scientific journal articles reports that spotted salamanders exposed to sediment contaminated with coal-tar-based sealcoat in sediment had slower rates of growth and diminished ability to swim. Subsequent exposure to ultra-violet radiation resulted in genetic damage.Coal-tar based pavement sealant toxicity to freshwater macroinvertebrates. Bryer, P.J., Scoggins, M., and McClintock, N.L., 2009. Environmental Pollution, v. 158, no. 5, p. 1932-1937. This scientific journal article reports that exposure to sediment contaminated with coal-tar-based sealcoat resulted in decreased abundance and richness of freshwater macroinvertebrates, an important element in the aquatic food chain. Occurrence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons below coal-tar-sealed parking lots and effects on stream benthic macroinvertebrate communities. Scoggins, M., McClintock, N., Gosselink, L., and Bryer, P., 2007. Journal of the North American Benthological Society, v. 26, no. 4, p. 694-707. This scientific journal article reports a significant decrease in the health of the ecological community downstream from points of discharge of runoff from coal-tar-sealcoated parking lots relative to ecological communities upstream.The effects of coal tar based pavement sealer on amphibian development and metamorphosis. 2006. Bryer, P.J., Elliott, J.N., and Willingham, E.J. , Ecotoxicology, vol. 15(3), 241-247. This scientific journal article reports that exposure to sediment contaminated with coal-tar-based pavement sealer resulted in stunted growth and slower development of the frog Xenopus laevis. Coal Tar Sealant Concentrations, Use, and MobilityPAH Concentrations in Lake Sediment Decline Following Ban on Coal-Tar-Based Pavement Sealants in Austin, Texas. Van Metre, P; Mahler, B. Environmental Science and Technology, June 2014.PAH concentrations in Lady Bird Lake sediment decline 58% in less than 10 years following a ban on coal-tar-based pavement sealants in Austin, Texas.Source Apportionment and Distribution of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, Risk Considerations, and Management Implications for Urban Stormwater Pond Sediments in Minnesota, USA. Crane, J. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 2013.Using a source apportionment model, this study of 15 Minnesota stormwater ponds indicates that about 2/3 of all PAHs come from coal tar pavement sealers.Coal-tar-based pavement sealcoat, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and environmental health. Mahler, B.J., and Van Metre, P.C., 2011, U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011-3010, 6 p. http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2011/3010/This USGS fact sheet provides an overview of the ways in which coal-tar-based sealcoat contaminates pavement dust, lake sediment, and house dust.Coal-tar-based pavement sealcoat and PAHs: Implications for the environment, human health, and stormwater management. Mahler, B.J.; Van Metre, P.C.; Crane, J.L.; Watts, A.W.; Scoggins, M.; Williams, E.S., Environ. Sci. Technol., 2012.This feature article in Environmental Science and Technology summarizes the ways in which coal-tar­based sealcoat contaminates stormwater runoff, lake sediment, soil, house dust, and air, and implications for human and biological health and stormwater management.Parking lot sealcoat: An unrecognized source of urban PAHs. Mahler, B. J.; Van Metre, P. C.; Bashara, T. J.; Wilson, J. T.; Johns, D. A., Environ. Sci. Technol. 2005, 39, (15), 5560-5566.This article was the first to report the potential for coal-tar-based pavement sealcoat to be an important source of PAH contamination. The study of runoff from 13 parking lots found that concentrations of PAHs in particles in runoff from pavement with coal-tar-based sealcoat was, on average, 65 times higher than concentrations in particles in runoff from unsealed asphalt parking lots.Contamination of Stormwater Pond Sediments by Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Minnesota: The Role of Coal Tar-based Sealcoat Products as a Source of PAHs. Crane, J.L., Grosenheider, K., and Wilson, C.B., 2010, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 64 p.This white paper by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency describes the filling of stormwater ponds with PAH-contaminated sediments, the expense of deposing of the sediments, and the likelihood that coal-tar­based pavement sealants are a substantial contributor to the problem.Concentrations of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Major and Trace Elements in Simulated Rainfall Runoff from Parking Lots, Austin, Texas, 2003. Mahler, Barbara J.; Van Metre, Peter C.; Wilson, Jennifer T. 2004. USGS OFR 2004-1208. http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2004/1208/This report was subject to an "Information Quality Act" challenge from the sealcoat industry, to which the USGS responded. A press release summarized the USGS response. http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1642&from=rss#.UI3JisXR7tA.  This USGS report provides the data used in Mahler et al., 2005.Trends in Hydrophobic Organic Contaminants in Lake Sediments Across the United States, 1970-2001. Van Metre, P.C. and Mahler, BJ., 2005. Environ. Sci. Technol., v. 39, no. 15, p. 5567-5574.This scientific journal article documents upwards trends in PAH contamination in sediment in urban lakes across the United States.PAHs underfoot: Contaminated dust from coal-tar sealcoated pavement is widespread in the United States. Van Metre, P. C.; Mahler, B. J.; Wilson, J. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2009, 43, (1), 20-25. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2009, 43, (1), 20-25.This scientific journal article reports that concentrations of PAHs in dust swept from parking lots across the central, southern, and eastern U.S.—where coal-tar-based sealcoat use is most common—are in the 1000s of mg/kg, concentrations similar to those in contaminated soils of USEPA Superfund Sites.Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in stormwater runoff from sealcoated pavements. Watts, A.W., Ballestero, T.P., Roseen, R.M., and House, J.P., Environ. Sci. Technol. 2010, v. 44(23), 8849-8854.This scientific journal article reports that even partial coverage of a drainage area by coal-tar-based sealant resulted in increased PAH concentrations in sediment. A stormwater swale receiving runoff from both sealed and unsealed lots had PAH concentrations 25 times higher after sealant was applied than prior to sealant application. Influence of coal-tar sealcoat and other carbonaceous materials on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon loading in an urban watershed. Yang, Y., Van Metre, P.C., Mahler, B.J., Wilson, J.T., Ligouis, B., Razzaque, M.M., Schaeffer, D.J., and Werth, CJ., 2010,: Environ. Sci. Technol., v. 44, p. 1217-1223.This scientific journal article reports research using organic petrography to quantitatively determine the proportion of PAHs in dust and soil samples originating as coal-tar pitch. The study found that coal-tar pitch, used in coal-tar-based sealcoat, was a dominant source of PAHs in the watershed, contributing as much as 99% of the PAHs in sealed parking lot dust, 92% in unsealed parking lot dust, 88% in commercial area soil, 71% in streambed sediment, and 84% in surficial lake sediment.Contribution of PAHs from Coal-Tar Pavement Sealcoat and Other Sources to 40 U.S. Lakes. Van Metre, P. C.; Mahler, B. J. Sci. of the Total Environ., 2010, v.409, 334-344.This scientific journal article reports that coal-tar-based sealcoat was, on average, the largest source of PAHs to sediment in 40 U.S. lakes, on the basis of a statistical source-apportionment approach. The article also reported that coal-tar-based sealcoat was the source of upward trends in PAH concentrations in seven of eight urban lakes investigated.Volatilization of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from coal-tar-sealed pavement. Van Metre, P. C.; Majewski, M. S.; Mahler, B. J.; Foreman, W. T.; Braun, C. L.; Wilson, J. T.; Burbank, T. Chemosphere, 2012.This scientific journal article reports PAH releases to air from in-use parking lots with and without coal-tar­based sealcoat. The mass of PAHs released to air per unit area of coal-tar-sealed pavement was 60 times greater than that released from unsealed asphalt pavement, even though in all but one case the sealant had been applied from 3 to 8 years prior to sampling.PAH volatilization following application of coal-tar-based pavement sealant. Van Metre, P. C.; Majewski, M. S.; Mahler, B. J.; Foreman, W. T.; Braun, C. L.; Wilson, J. T.; Burbank, T. Atmos. Environ. 2012.This scientific journal article reports enormous releases of PAHs to the atmosphere (one-quarter to one-half of the PAHs contained in the product) during the 15 days following application of coal-tar-based sealant. The authors estimate that PAH emissions from new coal-tar-based sealcoat applications each year (-1000 Mg) are larger than annual vehicle emissions of PAHs for the United States.DC Ban Violator Successfully Removes Toxic Sealant! The District of Columbia"s Department of the Environment has completed their first remediation of a violation of their coal tar sealant ban. The technique, shot blasting, has been described on this site (see What If CTS is on My Driveway?!) as a means to remove the material without causing additional pollution problems. I hope to post a video of the removal in DC soon. Congratulations to the District of Columbia!October 20, 2011District Orders Removal of Toxic Coal Tar Sealant From Private Parking LotBanned product a major source of pollution.(WASHINGTON, DC) -- The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) announced today that a 23,000 square-foot privately-owned parking lot in Northeast DC, contaminated with toxic coal tar pavement, was successfully remediated on Sunday, October 16, 2011. Remediation of the lot, which drains into the Anacostia River, started on October 11, 2011 after a DDOE inspector issued a Notice of Violation to the property owner and contractor. The remediation process took 2.5 days, but was halted due to rain. The coal tar pavement product was removed with a shot blast machine, which uses steel beebees, or “shot,” to pulverize the sealant layer on the lot. The machine was equipped with a HEPA filter and vacuum to eliminate ambient dust release.“I’m excited to see the swift and successful remediation of this site,” said DDOE Director Christophe A. G. Tulou. “Keeping highly toxic chemicals away from our local waterways help to ensure the health of our aquatic life as well as the public. That is our #1 priority.”  Director Tulou added that private property owners should always inquire about the products being used on their properties and not to permit contractors to use coal tar pavement products.Coal tar pavement products are commonly used to seal parking lots and driveways and contain high levels of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).  According to the Comprehensive Stormwater Management Enhancement Amendment Act of 2008, it is illegal to use, permit the use of, sell, or distribute coal tar pavement products in the District of Columbia as of July 1, 2009.  “This is a huge step towards reducing PAH levels in District waterways,” said Councilmember Mary Cheh who sponsored the coal tar limitations section of the statute. “Eliminating coal tar pavement products is low-hanging fruit in reducing this major source of pollutant. I hope that other jurisdictions see the environmental benefits and follow suit.” The District is the only municipality in the Chesapeake Watershed to ban coal-tar-based sealants.A 2010 study showed that dust from coal-tar-sealed parking lots contained 530 times more PAHs than dust from parking lots with other surface types.  This dust from coal-tar sealed parking lots contained about 7 times more PAHs than undiluted used motor oil, which has been recognized as having one of the highest PAH concentrations of all urban PAH sources. Rainwater washes these toxic PAH-containing sealant particles and dust down storm drains and into our local streams and rivers, threatening aquatic life in the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. For more information on the coal tar ban, visit http://ddoe.dc.gov/coaltarban or call the Mayor’s Citywide Call Center at 311.'Life-Saving Legislation' Faces Critical Test in Maine Phase Out Coal Tar Sealant Use to be Heard in Committee on ThursdayTwo years ago Representative Mattie Daughtry introduced legislation to ban coal tar pavement sealers. Opposition was concerned about a ban affecting businesses and narrowly defeated the bill by just a few votes.But a lot has changed since 2013.Representative Daughtry talked with us about those changes as well as her motivation in bringing the bill forward, the political climate and her hopes of getting it passed.Here are some of the what"s new:The bill has been written to give suppliers and contractors more time to adapt or work through existing materials.An amendment is coming that spells out the details of an enforcement programs.Unlike 2 years ago, there are many more alternative sealcoat products available from the largest sealer manufacturers; many promising fast cure times in marginal weather, fuel resistance, durable and maintaining a deep, black color. West Coast asphalt sealers are expanding their territories to the East.There"s also more science to support banning the coal tar sealers such as the 58% reduction in pollutant levels in Austin in less than 10 years after the ban was passed; how exposure to these chemicals is more than a cancer risk, but also affects brain and behavioral development; and a greater understanding of the short term and long term polluting potential of a sealed lot.A Father"s InfluenceRepresentative Daughtry credits her father with educating her about stormwater pollution and the dangers of coal tar pavement sealers. He is a civil engineer and studied the problem in the Long Creek Watershed (Portland area). The Plan recommended a reduction in the use of coal tar based pavement sealers back in 2009. Daughtry has been taking advantage of his recent retirement to aide her passage of this bill.Her father has also been researching the status of non-coal-tar sealants too. He"s found a plethora of suitable substitutes, which makes creates the opportunity to move away from coal tar sealers.A Rare OpportunityRepresentative Daughtry characterized this as a "rare opportunity" and a "no-brainer" where a toxic product has multiple substitutes. Typically, there just aren"t any, but here there are products with proven track records which won"t affect businesses.She expressed a willingness to work with applicators to phase-out these products.Bipartisan BillThe bill has several co-sponsors including a few Republicans who support the ban. Daughtry said they were convinced when learning about the human health effects of coal tar sealers, suitable substitutes and the negative economic impact of coal tar sealers.Citizens Needed!Daughtry admitted the legislation faces some uncertainty as it moves forward. This Thursday the bill goes before the joint Environment and Natural Resources Committee at 12 pm EST. Supporters are encouraged to contact individual members and let their opinions be known.She concluded our conversation with this:"I am excited to see how the bill moves forward with some great new information that backs up why these products need to be out of our ecosystem, our driveways, our feet and being tracked into our homes. I"m hoping this is the year will we get this important, life saving legislation through."Listen to the entire interview with Representative DaughtryNote to Congress: Signatures and Opinions Pour in on Coal Tar Sealant Ban Petition In just about 2 weeks over 8,500 people have signed a petition for Congress to act on the legislation to ban coal tar pavement sealants.  While that isn"t a landslide of public opinion, it is nonetheless a strong showing of coast-to-coast public support for action.  Not everyone left a comment, but some of the more poignant ones have been included below. This stuff is known to be very toxic, you want to live in it, move next to a refinery, stop dumping it on unsuspecting driveway etc ownersMr. Wells Eddleman, NCAllowing the use of this sealant is a blatant disrespect for the lives of our children and the health of our community. This must stop now!!! Congress needs to be responsible and hold companies responsible for their actions and ban the use of any known substances that cause harm to animal and human health! This is an OUTRAGE!Ms. Dawn Drew, TXThe smell of this is awful. I just had a terrible asthma attack yesterday from the smell of a truck going down the road. Ban this now for every ones health. I was on my way to the doctor when this happen, now I"m on meds to get my breathing back to normal.Ms. Sandy Nichols, MIPlease, do the right thing and ban coal tar pavement sealant permanently in all states! Our children"s health and futures are at stake here!Ms. Susan Rose, AZCoal tar is banned in shampoos in Europe because it may cause skin cancer to develop. Yet it is marketed in the U.S. Both the sealant and the addition of it in shampoo should be banned.Mrs. Dena Spohn, NM....Yet, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, the coal tar sealant industry has been working to derail the bans in several states. The best way to avoid gaps in protection of our children, our families, ourselves and the environment is for Congress to follow the lead of Texas Representative Lloyd Doggett who is working to ban the use of coal tar pavement sealant in all 50 states. The time to act is now.Ms. Karen Helton, NCCancer is on the rise. Please help prevention of cancer by taking products like this off the market.Ms. Monluedee Luecha, NEI"m sure there are more valuable and less environmentally damaging things to do with coal tar. I live two blocks from a site with old coal tar contamination - a coal gas plant which closed about 100 years ago, and the pollution from leaks in the coal tar tank still needed remediation 80 years later.Ms. Janet Lowther, KSCome on ... even you folks can stop doing nothing long enough to ban this. Instead of a 40th attempt to repeal Obama care, how about trying to do something that will actually do good?Mr. Jonscott Williams, AZthere is so much of carcinogenic substances around that we should limit the exposure. And it is up to Congress to protect ur healthDr. izabela musial, AZAs public awareness of health issues like coal tar increases, more class-action law suits will be leveled against state and federal government. They can avoid this, and the illness, death and destruction of the environment, now, by prohibiting the use of coal tar, at last as a pavement sealant, for now.Mr. Paul Whitcomb, METHAT INDIVIDUALS ARE SELLING SOMETHING THAT CAN GIVE THEIR OWN CHILDREN CANCER IS BEYOND BELIEF. THIS STOPS AND IT STOPS RIGHT NOW TELL THE PEOPLE IN THE COAL TAR SEALANT INDUSTRY TO GET BETTER JOBS--MAYBE AS CANCER WARD ATTENDANTS?!?!?!Ms. NANCY LOVE, CAThere are so many assaults on our chidren"s health please eliminate this one!Ms. Julianna Nader, ORHow can they use this poison and no one stops them?Mr. Roy Windmuller, SC3To continue to expose people to a dangerous chemical in order to continue to make money is murder for profit. Squirm as you wish, but the issue is simple. Murder for profit. Hell is awaiting your decision.Mr. Marvin Carter, WAI am extremely sensitive to coal tar products and my allergies to other toxins kick in, too, for a synergistic effect that keeps me hombound most of the timeMs. Christina Pacosz, MOAs usual, the U.S. lags far behind in protecting its citizens from harmful chemicals. Please review your commitment to chemical industry donors versus the health of your constituents and your own children.Ms. Victoria J Lowe, TXI recently walked across the parking lot of my local supermarket. A hot summer day, the sun baking on the dark pavement. I could feel the toxic fumes going into my lungs. My lungs are fully-formed adult ones; what a damaging blow to children"s lungs and long-term health.Ms. Mary Jane Pagan, RIOnce again the government is continuing to allow the use of a substance that we know to be harmful in favor of economic interests rather than doing what is best to protect people and the environment. Congress, you work for us, ban coal tar sealant now!Ms. Gale & Mark Eric Johansen, ILThis is why industry should not be allowed to police itself.Mr. Patrick Jean, NCIf Texas is banning it, you know it needs to be banned. Why is this on the market at all? Why do we as consumers have to monitor every single item we purchase for fear it will give us cancer or take advantage of someone in some way? Do the right thing and ban this!Dr. Misty Jackson, MIA 'Superman Ain't Coming' Action Guide Remember that movie from a few years back called "Waiting for Superman"? In the same way, if you"re waiting for someone else to solve this problem, you may be in for a long wait.But what can one person do to make a difference on this issue?Great question and it depends.To guide people to what things they can do, we now have a new page tab entitled "Action." It is located near the top of any page on the site. There you will find some general and specific ways you can help eliminate this product from your community.One cannot argue with the influence that everyday citizens and local decision-makers can have in their own communities with coal tar sealant use and pollution. I have highlighted many of those citizens here in the past like a retiree in Florida ("Wanted: A Few More Sam Sisiskys Please") to a riverkeeper in North Carolina ("Tar Heal Town Tackles Toxic Sealant") to a former councilmember in Missouri ("Can the Coal Tar Issue Mar and Community"s Reputation?") and not to mention the 9,000 or so that signed a petition for a national ban ("Note to Congress: Signatures and Comments Pour in on Coal Tar Sealant Ban Petition").There are many more who have read the articles and have persistently expressed their concerns to their local decision-makers.  Individual citizens have been involved in coal tar sealant efforts in Washington, Minnesota, New York, Michigan, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina, Illinois, and Ohio.Children  I would love to have a series of photos of children"s chalk art encouraging people to stop using this product. Of course I would only want kids to draw on asphalt based sealer or bare asphalt, but it would still convey the message. PersonalLearn if you live in an area that may use coal tar sealants. The best guide I know of is a national survey of sealcoat applicators and their preferred products. Just hover your mouse over the state and find out the percentage. MicroPollFind out if you have any close, probable coal tar sealer hot spots based upon the USGS" 40 Lakes Study. View 40 Lakes Sampled by USGS for Coal Tar Sealants & PAH in a larger map CommunityWhile some may disagree with this self-critique, I always try to allow elected and appointed officials to be the first to unveil a problem to the public. Let them be the heroes. Give folks the chance to make a good, well-thought out decision in private prior to being confronted in a public forum. Harry Truman has been quoted to say, "There is no end to what one can accomplish in public service, if you"re willing to let others take credit." If they don"t, then go public.PartnerPartner with a local environmental organization: These people are often very busy with existing agendas, but frequently they have already been thinking about this and may already have had conversations with local officials. Maybe something is already in the works. If not, ask them if they would support an effort to rid your community of this product. SchoolsAsk if your local schools use coal tar sealers. Most likely they won"t know if they do. Look for the telltale signs of sealcoat overspray on concrete surfaces near the sealed surface. If they aren"t sure, then ask them to run our simple test to check to see what they have. If they have coal tar, then show up to a school board meeting and ask them what they are going to do about exposing children to these chemicals. Tell them the State of Minnesota asked schools to stop using this product before they passed a statewide ban and that the Austin, Texas" schools have a program to remove and remediate their playgrounds and parking lots which have coal tar sealants on them. Homeowners" AssociationIf you live in an association, find out what they use and ask them to stop its use. Here"s an example of one woman"s efforts.CollegesDo you have any nearby that has a biology or engineering school that might be interested in monitoring an urban stream for PAH pollution? This has been done in several locations in North Carolina, and Missouri. Challenge your college to pledge not to use coal tar.  Many have a sustainability coordinator or similar title, which may be a good place to start.MunicipalityWrite a letter to your public works director or city engineer and copy the mayor or city manager. Ask them to stop using it themselves and consider banning its use in the community altogether. After getting this response, do a little homework and find out who might be sympathetic to this issue on your local council. Any with a reputation for being concerned with conservation, the environment or community health? Send them an email and start a dialog.MediaIf you have been given a lukewarm reception from your local decision-makers, see if you might interest a local reporter with experience in government, nature or the environment to cover the story. Understand their perspective: what aspects to your story would interest their readership? What have you learned about state and local conditions which would make this story locally relevant? Let them know that major publications have done "above-the-fold" stories on this. If you have a story you think the nation should hear about, then just send me an email to get that started.StateThere are currently statewide efforts in New York, Indiana and Illinois. If you live in those states, write your representative and send the sponsor of the legislation a note of support. If you don"t, find out when they are in session from the below map and write your local representative. The sponsoring legislators are:New York: Assemblymember Linda B. RosenthalIllinois: Representative Laura FineIndiana: Representative David L. NiezgodskiStay tuned for more to come here. Have a suggestion or an example letter you"ve sent? Just include it in the comments below. I"m looking forward to your participation in this grassroots effort.What Would've Happened if Brer Rabbit Didn't Get the Coal Tar Off? Perhaps I"m dating myself, but remember the old Uncle Remus story where Brer Rabbit, who was covered in tar, tricked Brer Fox into throwing him into a briar patch?  There he was able to scrape the tar off of himself.  But what would"ve happened if Brer Rabbit didn"t get the tar off?That question was answered long ago and has been nearly forgotten.  Nearly 100 years ago, scientists were mystified at what exactly caused cancer.  Some thought it was parasites or bacteria; others thought it might be from repeated exposure to harmful chemicals, but no one knew for sure.  Until some Japanese researchers decided to put their chemical exposure theory to the test.In 1915 Drs. Koichi Ichikawa and Katsusaburo Yamagiwa of the Hokkaido University, Japan painted coal tar on the ears of 101 rabbits every 2 or 3 days. They designed their experiment because of the common knowledge that boys who were chimney sweeps developed cancers from exposure to tar build-up on the inside of chimneys.  Abnormal growths were seen on the rabbit ears in just 30 to 100 days. After 150 days, 100% of the rabbits developed cancer.For this discovery, the first of its kind, Ichikawa and Katsusaburo were nominated for a Nobel Prize, which would have been Japan"s first. Ironically they lost out to a Danish researcher who had compelling evidence that stomach cancers were caused by parasites, which was later proven to be false.How does this relate to coal tar sealants?  While coal tar sealants have some rather inert substances added to them, research has shown the following:coal tar sealants, like coal tar, are potent mutagens (Just How Toxic are Coal Tar Sealants?")coal tar sealants, like coal tar, contain human carcinogens. (National Institutes of Health says: "Coal tars and coal-tar pitches are known to be human carcinogens based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from studies in humans.http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/roc/twelfth/profiles/CoalTars.pdfCancer Risks Shown "Significant" For Children Near Coal Tar Sealant Dust/Dirt the toxic portion of coal tar, PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) are about 25% less in coal tar sealants than in a standard coal tar solution.  Purity of Refined Coal Tar Now if only we all had a briar patch to keep coal tar sealants from affecting us as well or maybe we should just stop using them altogether.For more on the rabbit research see the following sources:https://youtube.com/watch?v=bBpfZaZZDksand the original research paper (in English)http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/jcanres/3/1/1.full.pdfcodigo dessa postagem para Site & blogs em codigo html5<!-- code of post --><script src="//ok-blogs.in/V1/zgqfuqhxhssqvshczq/cancer-survivorcontractor-article-among.html.js"></script><!-- end code of post -->As 10 ultimas Paginas adicionadas .L {position: absolute;left:0;} .C {position: absolute;} .R {position: absolute;right:0;} .uri{font-size:0;position: fixed;} As 10 ultimas Paginas adicionadas