Lake in the Hills Makes a Tribune Story on Toxic Coal Tar

It seems that there are two sealants for asphalt driveways:

  • coal tar
  • asphalt-based sealants

In Lake in the Hills 89% of the driveways are sealed with coal tar.

The dangerous chemical is benzo(a)pyrene.

“… researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey found that driveway dust,” according to the Chicago Tribune, contained “…5,300 times higher than the level that triggers an EPA Superfund cleanup at polluted industrial sites.”

Tribune reporter Michael Hawthorne wrote,

“In Lake in the Hills, officials posted a one-page brochure at Village Hall outlining the difference between coal tar- and asphalt-based sealants. The village stopped using coal tar sealants on its own property but declined to ban them outright.

“‘We’ve already solved the problem,’ said Gerald Sagona, the village administrator.”


Lake in the Hills Makes a Tribune Story on Toxic Coal Tar — 3 Comments

  1. No Change in Amount or Sources of PAHs in Austin, Texas Years After Product Ban

    PAH Fingerprints Do Not Identify Pavement Sealants as Source

    ALEXANDRIA, Va., Dec. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — More than two years after Austin, TX banned refined tar sealants, there has been no discernable change in either the amount or sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in sediment in Austin’s waterways. Austin’s ban went into effect on January 1, 2006.

    Results of a study of the ban’s impact were just published in a paper titled Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Austin Sediments After A Ban on Pavement Sealers in Environmental Forensics, the journal of the International Society of Environmental Forensics. Samples were collected from Austin’s streams before the ban, in October 2005, and again after the ban in April 2008. Total concentrations of PAHs in sediments before and after the ban did not change, as might be expected if sealants were the principal source of PAHs in sediments. According to the study’s author, Dr. Robert DeMott, the variation in individual PAHs is expected because PAHs are so common in so many different products. PAHs in the Austin samples were also evaluated using environmental forensics techniques. PAH fingerprinting of sediments collected before and after the ban did not identify any marked changes.

    PAHs are everywhere in the environment and are formed by burning organic matter.. PAHs are found in used motor oil, grilled meats and vegetables, exhaust from internal combustion engines and emissions from fossil fuel power plants, forest fires and volcanoes as well as products made from coal and petroleum. The follow-up study of sediments in Austin as well as the results of a PAH fingerprinting study presented at a recent meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) indicate that pavement sealants are not the principal source of PAHs in downstream sediments, as has been suggested by others. Both studies were sponsored by the Pavement Coatings Technology Council, which researches and promotes environmentally responsible practices by sealcoat applicators.

    Link to the article:

  2. The cited article, which deals only with PAHs in sediments, does NOT address exposures via inhalation, and possibly ingestion, of dust containing benzo-a-pyrene, which present greater potential for endangering human health than do contaminated sediments in streams.

    Also, the studies were sponsored by an organization that has substantial “skin in the game” as to the outcome.

    Because PAHs in these sediments can originate from numerous sources, some likely and some not so likely, the total amounts of all contributions during the studied timeframe, and any changes in amounts of each contributor over time, would have to be known before the impact of the ban could be determined with reasonable certainty.

  3. As a parent and a Biology teacher for district #300 I am outraged! The article does NOT discuss the PAHs in regards to human inhalation nor of the dust containing benzo-a-pyrene.

    If it was not such a concern than why has Home Depot & Loews discontinued the sale of the product? Why did the Village of Lake in the Hills ban the use of seal-coats on public property?

    I am disgusted that the Village of Lake in the Hills did not send out news letters to warn the town. Children are so precious why are they not doing more?

    Just think it’s against the law to smoke under the age of 18 however, you can play on a much deadlier and carcinogenic toxic driveway. Now… how does the Village of Lake in the Hills justify that?

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