With bans popping up all over the nation, I think we are beyond the "brewing" stage!
This is a false statement. Yes you don't have a dog in this hunt. You have TWO: Pride & Money. If what the environmentalists have been saying is true, then your pride may resist that for 32 years your efforts, which may be innocent, have been responsible for environmental and economic harm.
This is a false statement. Really? Facts? Many of these points are based in "myths" not facts. Unbiased? Since when is industry-sponsored research unbiased? Industry-hired research does not meet the standard as set by the National Academy of Sciences concerning a conflict of interest (Conflict of interest is defined as any financial or other interest which conflicts with the service of an individual because it could impair the individual's objectivity...).
This is a concealment. Just because someone manufacturers both kinds of products does not make them unbiased. Sealant manufacturers may be biased for a number of reasons including equipment infrastructure, quality of their products, liability, supply chain, profitability, etc..
This is a concealment and means to imply that there is limited information on this issue. There are close to 25 scientific publications that include coal tar sealants and they have been done by local agencies, universities, the USGS, the EPA, states, and a division of the Centers for Disease Control. There were just 2 studies 7 years ago, but much has changed since then. Links and abstracts of most of the studies can be found at this post on this site: Human Health, Coal Tar Sealants, & PAHs: the State of the Science. Just click the highlighted text to go to this page.
I did a post about that entitled, The Myth of Flawed USGS Studies which traces the origin of these mis-statements. Just click the highlighted text to go to this page.
While it is true that Springfield did vote against a ban in 2010, here's an update. The University of Missouri and the City of Springfield did a joint study and found coal tar sealants are a pervasive stream pollutant there. The ban may be revisited as a result.
This is a concealment. The developer had this experience more than a decade ago in the infancy of asphalt-based sealer development. That's like saying "I'm not going to get one of those cell phones because I used one 20 years ago and it weighed over 10 pounds!"
While people may disagree on what a "rush" is, but dozens of studies, by multiple scientists, throughout the nation, over nearly a decade now, is no "rush" to judgment in my opinion.
This same councilwoman recently said, “I think this (University of Missouri Study) makes it clear that coal tar is the problem,” she said. “Now the question becomes, what are we gonna do about it?"
Where was this "proven?" Asphalt-based sealers and coal tar sealants vary dramatically in quality and price. I have seen asphalt-based sealcoat outperform, in all aspects, coal tar sealants. Check out the post associated with this comment.
Coal tar shampoo is a common dodge by the industry. There is a huge difference between a medicated product used in a controlled manner versus a pavement product that as it cures and wears indiscriminately exposes children, adults and the environment.
I recognize you are busy but have you actually read the any of the studies that show this product harms aquatic organisms? If you have read them, what makes them lack credibility other than they reach a conclusion that you do not support?
This is a concealment. The active ingredient in coal tar sealants is coal tar pitch, which has something like a serial code definition called a "chemical abstract service" or CAS number. For coal tar pitch it is CAS No: 65996-93-2. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) states the following:
- Evidence for carcinogenicity to humans (sufficient)
- Evidence for carcinogenicity to animals (sufficient)
- Summary evidence: Coal-tars are carcinogenic to humans
This is a false statement. Because of the exceptional concentration of PAH in coal tar sealants compared to asphalt-based sealers, an asphalt sealant would have to wear off and be re-applied every day to be equivalent to the potency of a coal tar sealer.
Since asphalt sealers are so much less harmful, this is extremely unlikely.
Did you know that studies have shown that coal tar sealers degrade asphalt and that it isn't recommended by the leading association for pavement quality in the United States?
Are we willing to attract customers by putting hazardous material on our properties? Would they be so excited to go to these commercial businesses if they knew what is on the parking lot? Today's asphalt-based sealant stays black for the life of the product. However with as much as 30% of our urban surfaces heat-absorbing black, perhaps it's time for us to move beyond the black paving aesthetic.A letter is being circulated around among contractors that continue to use coal tar sealants. They use it to convince their customers to continue to use this toxic product. Isn't it amazing that this was the most read article among sealcoating contractors in 2012!
It was written from a contractor to his client to assure the client that all this talk about coal tar sealant pollution is bunk. In my opinion this is the chaos that is created when our regulatory agencies don't step up and show leadership that their own research shows is a problem. Until that happens, we will continue to challenge flabby thinking on this issue.
When I first read this letter on the Paveman Pro website, I wrote a response to be published on this website, but the editor felt that my response was too personal and would not publish it. My intent was to be respectful but straightforward. Apparently it was too straightforward!
Well I guess that is what a blog is for! My intent is not to make personal attacks, but to show the fallacy of the arguments made.
If you don't want to wade into this point-by-point, then let's here's my summary. This letter is full of the following:
- Equivocations (the use of a vague expressions, especially in order to mislead):
- False statements:
If you would like to see my responses to this the points made by the author, just hover your mouse over the highlighted portions and my comments will pop up. Some of the comments have links so then just double-click the highlighted text and you'll go to the link.
In closing I just want to state some facts regarding coal tar:
- The FDA has approved coal tar for decades as a base ingredient for skin creams and shampoos that fight certain skin conditions. It is very odd that the FDA would approve coal tar to be applied to the skin and scalp IF it was harmful. The amount of PAH's produced by these items is far higher than that in coal tar sealer. Not sure why the environmentalists aren't fighting the FDA and pharmacuetical companies to have coal tar banned from skin creams and shampoos. This fact ALONE should dispell any belief that coal tar sealer is harmful.
- In the over 60 years that coal tar sealer has been used, there is no study that shows any harmful affects to humans or animal life attributed to coal tar sealer.
-Coal tar sealer is NOT and has NEVER been classified as a hazardous material by the EPA.
-Asphalt emulsions also produce PAH's, and in fact, since asphalt emulsion wears faster than coal tar sealer, these PAH's are released into the storm drains and streams at a faster rate . Also PAH's in asphalt emulsions are lighter than those of coal tar sealer, thus they will stay afloat and wash further down stream, as opposed to coal tar PAH's which will fall rapidly, attaching to sediments, causing zero affect on PAH levels in the water. Other producers of PAH's include, tire wear residue, motor oil drippings, car exhaust, hot mix asphalt, jet exhaust, roof shingles, even cigarettes, outdoor grills, volcanos, and forest fires and other outdoor burning, even wood burning in home fireplaces.I'm afraid that the if the environmentalists are successful at banning coal tar sealer, their next step will be to ban asphalt emulsion sealer based on wh at I stated above. What they don't realize is, banning sealants in the long run will have a much greater affect on the environment and natural resources. Pavement life will be decreased dramatically, requiring increased levels of asphalt replacement, overlayments, and total replacements. This will require more crude oil to manufacture the asphalt, more rock extracted from our rock quarries, more fuel to manufacture asphalt and raw materials, not to mention the performance of this work. Most asphalt pavements will need to be replaced within 10 years. As an owner and investor in shopping centers, this will also place a financial burden on companies like yours and their investors, not the mention the lack of "curb appeal" which attracts customers to a freshly sealed and well maintained parking lot.
With my 32 years working in the sealcoating and paving industry, I have not seen any credible studies showing that coal tar sealer is harmful to humans or the environment. And without hesitation, if I saw any compelling, unbiased study showing it was harmful, I would discontinue it's use within my company immediately.
Thank you John for taking the time to read this, and hopefully it will make a change on how coal tar sealer is viewed.
Gerry L. Signs
Asphalt Enterprises, Inc.
There is a ground-swell of sealant contractors that no longer buy that coal tar sealants are harmless and they are switching to asphalt-based sealants. Now is the time for us to freshly look at new information and not be fearful of the future or defensive about past, out-dated practices.