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Coal-tar-based pavement sealants—a potent source of PAHs

May 1, 2017

P avement sealants are applied to the asphalt pavement of many parking lots, driveways, and even playgrounds in North America (Figure 1), where, when first applied, they render the pavement glossy black and looking like new. Sealant products used commercially in the central, eastern, and northern United States typically are coal-tarbased, whereas those used in the western United States typically are asphalt-based. Although the products look similar, they are chemically different. Coal-tarbased pavement sealants typically are 25-35 percent (by weight) coal tar or coal-tar pitch, materials that are known human carcinogens and that contain high concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and related chemicals (unless otherwise noted, all Figure 1. Pavement sealant is commonly used to seal parking lots, playgrounds, and driveways throughout the United States. Sealants used in the central, northern, eastern, and southern United States typically contain coal tar or coal-tar pitch, both of which are known human carcinogens. Photos by the U.S. Geological Survey. data in this article are from Mahler et al. 2012 and references therein).

Publication Year 2017
Title Coal-tar-based pavement sealants—a potent source of PAHs
Authors Barbara Mahler, Peter C. Van Metre
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Lakeline
Index ID 70191541
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Texas Water Science Center