CBF Applauds House Passage of Bill to Prohibit The Sale and Use of Toxic Pavement Sealants

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is applauding Pennsylvania House passage of House Bill 1166 on Tuesday, which prohibits the supply, sale, and application of coal tar sealants containing high amounts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on driveways or parking lots. The measure was sponsored by Rep. Mandy Steele (D-Allegheny).

Scientific research has found that high PAHs from sealants can pose significant risks to the health of humans, pets, and wildlife.

According to a study in the American Chemical Society’s Environmental Science and Technology, people living near pavement sealed with coal tar can be exposed to PAHs in soils and household dust at concentrations found to elevate the risk of lung, skin, bladder, respiratory, and urinary tract cancers.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports that children younger than six years old are particularly at risk.

In fish populations, PAHs in runoff have been found to cause lesions, liver abnormalities, tumors, and decreased juvenile growth. A study in Washington State found that seven months post-application, runoff from coal tar sealed areas killed 55 percent of juvenile salmon within 96 hours.

PAHs also contaminate the air. Newly coal tar-sealed pavement rapidly volatilizes into the air, raising the risk of human, pet, and wildlife exposure. The USGS reports that three to eight years post-application, PAH releases to ground level atmosphere from sealed parking lots was an average of 60 times higher than unsealed pavement.

CBF Pennsylvania Executive Director Julia Krall issued this statement applauding passage of House Bill 1166. It now proceeds to the Senate for consideration.

“The health concerns of coal tar-based sealants are so great that communities across the United States have banned or restricted their use.

“Twelve states and Washington D.C. have enacted bans, and 17 others have restrictions on its use. CBF helped to champion a bill banning coal tar sealants that passed the Virginia General Assembly and will become effective in July.

“We thank legislators in the House for passing House Bill 1166 to protect the health, wellbeing, and quality of life for all Pennsylvanians. This decision is also good for our local waters. We urge members of the Senate to do the same.”

B.J. Small 90x110

B.J. Small

Pennsylvania Communications & Media Relations Manager, CBF

[email protected]

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