PAHs Coal Tar Sealants
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a class of toxic contaminants that don’t break down in the environment. PAHs are known to have harmful impacts on humans and the environment, and several PAHs are probable human carcinogens. Coal tar sealants contain high concentrations of PAHs. These sealants are used to maintain driveway, playground, and parking lot asphalt pavement that humans come in contact with daily. There are safer and cheaper alternatives available. As coal-tar sealants age, they are broken into small particles in the air and soil with high quantities of PAHs that can be ingested or tracked into homes.
Key Point 1
PAHs are known to negatively impact human health and the environment and do not break down naturally. (Interlochen Public Radio, EPA)
Key Point 2
Coal tar sealants used in driveways, playgrounds and parking lots have high concentrations of PAHs and lead to elevated PAH levels in air and water sources. (USGS)
Key Point 3
Cancer risk for people living adjacent to coal tar sealed pavement was 38 times higher than those living adjacent to unsealed pavement. (USGS)
Key Point 4
Alternative pavement options like pervious concrete or permeable asphalt do not require sealants. (EPA)
There have been 38 bills relating to PAH’s introduced since 2015 and 12 bills in the past year.
Water Quality Testing for Contaminants including PAH
- Indiana HB 1357 requires independent testing of Lake Michigan Water for the presence and concentration of pollutants including PAHs.
Prohibiting Sale or Use of Products Containing Coal Tar
- Wisconsin AB 797, New York S 6308, Michigan HB 4719, and District of Columbia B22 1014 prohibit the sale and use of coal tar-based sealant products and other high PAH sealant pavement products.