Coal tar is a commonly used pavement sealant. It's the black, viscous liquid sprayed or painted on many asphalt parking lots, driveways, and playgrounds to protect the underlying asphalt. Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), academic institutions, and state and local agencies have found exposure to these sealants, that contain high levels of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), to be a major risk to human and aquatic health. Coal tar-based sealants contain high levels of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), often reaching up to 1000 times the level found in the readily available alternative asphalt-based sealants.
As of 2017, communities across the country representing over 20 million people have voted to pass bans on cancer-linked, coal tar-based, pavement sealants.
In response to the concerns posed by public health professionals and the environmental community, State Representative Laura Fine has proposed legislation that would ban the use of coal tar sealants and other high PAH content sealants in Illinois. Take action today to make sure that all Illinoisans are protected from the health risks posed by coal tar sealants.