By Josh Hinkle
Congressman Lloyd Doggett is taking the fight against coal tar sealants -- the black coating sprayed on paved surfaces like driveways and parking lots -- to Washington.
Doggett, D-Austin, recently introduced legislation -- the Coal Tar Sealants Reduction Act - to phase out this material -- a major source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHS. Several PAHs are known to be toxic to aquatic life, in addition to possible human carcinogens -- a known cause of cancer.
"The threat that these substances pose to our ecosystems and our health, especially our children's health, demands action," said Doggett. "In the roughly 10 years since we were first alerted to the issue of coal tar sealant pollution in Barton Springs, we have learned that this is a nationwide problem that we are exposed to through the air we breathe and the dust that is tracked into our homes. This is a common-sense measure."
Several places across the nation have started implementing restrictions against the material, including Washington State, Dane County in Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. In 2006, the city of Austin completely banned future use of the sealant.
In a letter to Congress, the Clean Water Network stated, "This bill would protect public health and the environment by banning the use of this unnecessary poison. We applaud Congressman Lloyd Doggett for introducing this important legislation."
Doggett has been pushing since 2003 for tighter regulations on the use of the tar and has asked the EPA to conduct a national study on the substance.