EPA Study Lends Support to National Ban on Coal-tar Sealants

According to a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study, a ban on coal-tar sealants may be the most cost-effective means of controlling polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) pollution in runoff. EPA showed that concentrations of PAHs in runoff from coal-tar sealants are 100 to 1,000 times greater than other sealants tested, and most PAHs are released within the first 24 hours of application. The study, Assessment of Water Quality of Runoff from Sealed Asphalt Surfaces, compliments U.S. Geological Survey studies showing that, on average, coal-tar sealants accounted for half of PAH inputs in 40 urban lakes studied. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) requested the EPA study and will continue working on legislation to phase out coal-tar sealants nationally, following the example of several local governments.

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