Proximity to Coal-Tar-Sealed Pavement Raises Risk of Cancer, Study ...

Living near asphalt with a coal tar sealant raises your children's cancer risk (and yours too).

People living near asphalt pavement sealed with coal tar have an elevated risk of cancer,...

Much of this calculated excess risk results from exposures in children, age six or younger, to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from the sealant.

"Exposure to these compounds in settled house dust is a particularly important source of risk for children younger than six years of age, as they are expected to ingest this material at higher rates,"....

The parking lot surfaces adjacent to the apartments were coal-tar-sealed asphalt, asphalt-based sealant over asphalt pavement, or unsealed concrete. Concentrations of PAHs were 25 times higher in house dust in residences adjacent to coal-tar-sealed pavement compared to those with other pavement types.

Sealcoat is a black, shiny substance sprayed or painted on the asphalt pavement of parking lots, driveways, and playgrounds to improve appearance and protect the underlying asphalt. An estimated 85 million gallons of coal-tar-based sealant are applied to pavement each year, primarily east of the Continental Divide in the U.S. and parts of Canada. Coal-tar-based pavement sealants are 15 to 35 percent coal-tar pitch, which has been classified as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Over time, the dried sealant is worn away from pavement surfaces, and the resulting mobile dust particles can be transported into nearby homes. [emphasis mine]

 

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