Is Asphalt Sealcoating Coal-Tar Safe?
In recent years, there has been a great deal of debate over the safety of both types of asphalt sealcoating: coal-tar sealants and asphalt emulsions. There are two points that people often overlook in the discussions. The first is that the choice of sealant must be made by a qualified contractor on a job-by-job basis to determine which type will provide the necessary results. The second, and most critical, point is that the primary reason for the debate is centered on a flawed report issued by the United States Geological Survey that resulted in a municipal ban on coal-tar sealants in 2006 within the city limits of Austin, Texas. It is important to understand both the facts and myths involved in the debates.
What Is the Biggest Myth About Coal-Tar Asphalt Sealcoating?
The biggest myth is that coal-tar parking lot sealcoating is a significant hazard to the environment. This goes back to the USGS study that measured polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, in the water of Barton Springs. Despite the same researchers having previously attributed rising PAH levels in urban areas to increased amounts of auto exhaust, burning trash at dumpsites, certain manufacturing activities, and other effects of urbanization, this time, they fixed the blame on an apartment complex that lay uphill from Barton Springs with a parking lot that had been sealed with a coal-tar sealant. Interestingly, almost three years after the ban in Austin went into effect, the levels of PAHs in Barton Springs had not changed, and these findings were echoed in other states and cities that had banned coal-tar sealants almost immediately after the USGS report on Austin. Further studies identified vehicle emissions, rubber tire particles, and motor oil as the primary sources of the PAHs.
What Is Another Important Myth About Tar-Based Asphalt Sealcoating?
Another myth is that coal tar causes cancer. If that were true, then one has to wonder why the Food and Drug Administration lists it as “safe and effective” for over-the-counter products to treat dandruff, eczema, and other skin conditions. Furthermore, studies dating back almost a century have found no increased risk of cancer among generations of people who worked for sealcoating companies that manufactured the products or the sealcoating contractors who applied them. In addition, remember the ban that Austin put into place because of Barton Springs? A federal study conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry found no information supporting claims that adverse health effects would result from swimming in Barton Springs on even a daily basis, so there was no public health hazard apparent.
What Else Should People Know About Asphalt Sealcoating Treasure Coast Pavements?
Perhaps the most important fact that should be kept in mind is that they should always hire a reputable local sealcoating company. Experienced Treasure Coast sealcoating contractors will have better understanding of the local conditions that could impact the job. Regardless of whether the sealant is coal-tar based or asphalt emulsion, the following points should be considered relevant.
1. Sealcoating should never be applied if rain is forecast within 24 hours of the application. Until the sealant is completely cured, a heavy rain could just wash it away.
2. Depending on the weather, vehicles should not be allowed on a freshly sealed pavement for 12 to 24 hours to avoid tracking the sealant to other locations.
3. Do not seal a pavement more often than is necessary. In most cases, pavements do not need sealcoating more than about once every two years.
Asphalt Care Services is a respected Treasure Coast sealcoating and asphalt maintenance company with an immaculate reputation. In addition to sealcoating, we also offer asphalt repairs, driveway asphalt paving, parking lot maintenance, thermoplastic line striping, traffic sign installation, lot striping, bumper block installation, and speed bump installation. We serve all of the Treasure Coast, including the towns of Hobe Sound, Fort Pierce, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Stuart, Indian River, Sebastian, Port St. Lucie, Okeechobee, and Vero Beach. Since our family founded our company in 1993, we have helped a diverse range of clients, including municipalities, apartment complexes, industrial facilities, educational institutions, healthcare facilities, resorts and hotels, restaurants, and retailers, to find the best ways to maximize the return on their paving investments. Our highly trained and well-experienced employees have the expertise to perform their tasks professionally and safely. We have earned our remarkable reputation by delivering exceptional results and extraordinary service on every project. We would be happy to provide you with a free quote without any obligation on your part. To submit your request, use the online form, call 772-888-2840, or email [email protected].