AMA Calls for a Nationwide Ban on Coal Tar Sealants
American Medical Association seals the deal
In 2005, Austin became the first U.S. city to ban the use of coal tar sealants on asphalt roads and parking lots, after a study by the city and the U.S. Geological Survey concluded that the toxic and potentially carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons contained in the sealants were leaching from the pavement and degrading local waterways, including Barton Creek and sediments in Barton Springs. Similar bans (now including San Antonio) now protect some 20 million U.S. residents – yet leaving the majority, especially children, still at risk. Now the American Medical Association has called for a nationwide ban on the sealants or PAH components – "Whether they are sending their children to a playground or repairing a driveway, Americans are potentially being exposed to harmful carcinogens in coal-tar-based sealcoats," said the AMA in a statement. Tom Ennis of Coal Tar Free America reported that both Lowe's and Home Depot have ended sales of the coal-tar based sealants, and that dozens of environmental organizations have called for stronger restrictions by the Environmental Protection Agency, and Austin Congressman Lloyd Doggett joined other representatives in pressing for additional protections. "We must listen to our scientists and public health experts," said Doggett. "It is long past time for a nationwide coal tar sealant ban."