Are Health Dangers Lurking on Your Driveway? Church Parking Lot? School?

 

“Toxic Impacts of Coal Tar Sealants and Positive Alternatives” will be presented by Dr. Cindy Skrukrud, Illinois Chapter Sierra Club Clean Water Advocate, for the Peoria Area League of Women Voters Public Program on Thursday, April 5, 6:00 p.m. at AMT/ Advanced Medical Transport, 1718 N. Sterling Ave., Peoria.

Dr. Skrukrud will discuss toxic impacts of coal tar sealants, which are used as a coating on parking lots, driveways, and other asphalt surfaces. Coal tar sealants contain extremely high levels of PAHs, which are chemicals known to cause cancer and that are of particular developmental risks to children and infants.

The chemicals in the coal tar sealants can be Ingested when kids play on their hands and knees or do pavement activities like chalk art. The pollutants can also be tracked inside on your shoes and remain in carpeting where babies and young children then get the chemicals on their hands.

U.S. EPA studies have found that coal tar sealer runoff is toxic to aquatic life. Rain and other water run-off from parking lots and sealed surfaces moves pollutants into waterways and ponds. The agency recommends that local bans on coal tar sealants can help address this pollution source.

Currently there is proposed legislation in the Illinois House, House Bill 2958, and Senate, Senate Bill 237, to allow communities to ban coal tar sealants to protect public health and the environment. Information about the legislation will be available at the meeting.

The Peoria Area League of Women Voters Environmental Committee will also be conducting a sampling of area parking lots and doing an informal testing to identify if coal tar sealants have been used. Sign-up lists will be available for interested volunteers.

Safer alternatives to coal tar sealants should be used, although buyers must beware that some products without coal tar contain steam cracked asphalts or heavy pyrolysis oil and are not acceptable due to high levels of PAHs. Sealants should be PAH free and asphalt products that meet this standard are readily available.

 

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