Parking Lot Sealer – The Next Asbestos? January 12, 2010

1243144_asphalt_series__1MSNBC is reporting today that a recently released study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has indicated that coal-tar-based black top sealer contains known carcinogens that are being transported into homes by their residents. As early as 2005, the USGS recognized that coal-tar-based black top sealer, the shiny black coating applied to parking lots and driveways, posed a danger to the environment. Over time, the sealer begins to crumble from car and truck traffic and rain washes these particles into nearby streams and lakes. These particles contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are known cancer causing carcinogens. The USGS has recently published a study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology that PAHs are showing up at alarming levels in settled house dust. It appears that the broken down particles are tracked into homes on the bottom of our shoes.

The findings are so shocking that congressman Lloyd Dogget from Texas has called for the outright ban of coal-tar-based sealants. The study found the presence of a PAH known as benzo[a]pyrene in the driveways of two suburban homes at levels thousands of times the level that would have triggered an environmental cleanup at a toxic waste site. The United States has no “acceptable limit” for BAHs but a German standard is exceeded based on testing of the dust in the test houses.

A coal-tar-based industry spokesperson has adopted the ususal approach of calling for more testing before any ban should even be considered. Although not denying that the coal-tar-based sealant is a source of PAHs, the spokeperson went on to state that there are other sources of PAHs, including tires and motor oil. This type of behavior by mega-corporations is what usually leads to a health care crisis down the road after years of prolonged exposure to the chemicals. If companies would quickly accept responsibility and try to resolve this problem, we might be able to avoid years of pain and suffering by citizens exposed to PAHs. No one knew how dangerous asbestos was until it was too late. Do we want to make the same mistake with PAHs?

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Frank Dito is a New York Personal Injury attorney specializing in New York real estate law , New York business law, and New York franchise law. You can visit his Law Firm Decker, Decker, Dito and Internicola website by clicking here, download his FREE New York Car Insurance book, or call him at 718-979-4300 or 1-800-310-5520 for a free case analysis.

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This post was written by Frank Dito on January 12, 2010
Posted Under: Developing Litigation Tags: , , , ,
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