Coal / Coal Ash

Studies raise questions about pavement sealers

State and local jurisdictions in 10 states and the District of Columbia have imposed some restriction on the use or sale of coal tar–based sealers.

WASHINGTON, DC — “Airborne emissions and stray dust from coal tar–based sealers, one of the two main types of products used to coat certain asphalt pavements, may be a more significant human health threat than previously thought, according to three new studies and a review published by U.S. government and university researchers.1,2,3,4 The findings build on previous research on coal tar–based sealers (mostly on environmental impacts via runoff and other pathways) and provide novel insights on pathways of human exposure and the magnitude and duration of the emissions. But ‘we’re just at the very beginning as far as [understanding] human health effects,’ says Peter Van Metre, coauthor of all four publications and a research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.”

— Bob Weinhold, Environmental Health Perspectives

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