One of the most popular sealers to prolong the life of Driveways, parking lots and roads for years has been a topping made from Coal Tar. Coal Tar is the residue after coal is burned under ideal conditions, a resin now found by many studies to contain carcinogens and poisons. It can attach resin residue on a hot summer day to the souls of shoes, causing the dangerous substance to be tracked indoors to homes, stores, daycare centers and public offices.
Today there are cost effective, safe, green alternatives to coal tar known as Pitch Black. Pitch Black is non-toxic, will not become viscous in the hot sun, is odorless, and lasts longer than the potentially deadly Coal Tar substance.
Let’s look as just some of the disadvantages of Coal Tar:
- Coal tar pitch volatiles (CTPVs) are composed of various chemical vapors that become airborne during the heating of coal tar pitch. Coal tar pitch is a black or dark-brown amorphous residue produced by the distillation or heat treatment of coal tar. It is a solid at room temperature and exhibits a broad softening range instead of a defined melting temperature. Synonyms for CTPVs vary depending upon the specific compound (e.g., pyrene, phenanthrene, acridine, chrysene, anthracene and benzo(a)pyrene). [Note: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) considers coal tar, coal tar pitch, and creosote to be coal tar products.]
- Coal tar pitch volatiles. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), (1994, May). Provides an Immediate Danger to Life or Health (IDLH) and documents acute toxicity data for CTPVs.
- ◦Coal Tars and Coal-Tar Pitches (PDF). NTP classification: Known to be human carcinogens
- ◦Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons: 15 Listings (PDF). NTP classification: Reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens
- Toxic Coal Tar FAQs for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), (1996, September). Covers what PAHs are, how a person is exposed to PAHs, the acute and chronic health effects, human and animal studies associated with high levels of exposures, medical tests to determine if a person has been exposed to PAHs, and the regulations associated with PAHs.
- Right to Know Hazardous Substance Fact Sheets. New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. Includes detailed reports on specific chemicals, covering hazard summaries, identification, exposure routes, health hazards, and ways of reducing exposure. The following polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
- Under the Comprehensive Storm Water Management Enhancement Amendment Act of 2008, effective July 1, 2009, it is illegal to sell, use, or permit the use of coal tar pavement products in the District of Columbia. Violators of this ban are subject to a daily fine of up to $2,500. The Government of the District of Columbia issued this ban to protect human health and our environment.
- In a 2004 study, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service researchers linked PAHs to liver and skin tumors in as many as 2/3 of brown bullhead catfish in the Anacostia River.
- Rainwater washes 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. 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.
Suggestions from Perma Stripe of Florida, your responsible and safe contractor:
- DO NOT USE or ALLOW contractors to use coal-tar-based sealant on your parking lot, driveway, etc. Contractors and distributors should provide a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that lists product ingredients or components. Do not use products with ingredients that include the words “coal,” “tar,” “refined coal tar pitch,” or “RT-12.”
- DEMAND the use of a much less toxic asphalt-based sealer instead of coal-tar-based products. Don’t allow a mixed product containing both coal tar and asphalt to be used. For new projects, consider using porous concrete.
- Recently sealed parking lots appear to have a dark black sheen. Although it is not possible to visually distinguish between pavements sealed with asphalt products versus coal tar sealant products, if you smell coal-tar-based products and notice that the pavement has a glossy shine to it, please alert Perma Stripe below via our tip line.
Did you know?
- There are good alternatives to coal-tar-based pavement sealants. Asphalt-based pavement sealers dominate use in the western US; coal-tar-based pavement sealers dominate use in the central and eastern US.
- Dust from coal-tar sealed parking lots contains about 8 times more toxic PAHs than undiluted used motor oil.
- PAHs are toxic to mammals (including humans), birds, fish, amphibians and invertebrates.
Contact Perma Stripe for more information on safe alternatives to Coal Tar Toxins. Remember if you smell that “tar” smell when a parking lot or road is being resurfaced, cover your nose, and get to safety. You are being exposed to dangerous toxic carcinogens!
We are the proven experts at Orlando asphalt paving, Orlando sealcoating and Orlando parking lot repairs.
Please call us at 407.814.7400 for a FREE Inspection & Estimate.