On January 31, 2022, Katherine Hafner with The Virginian-Pilot reported, “Virginia bill targets toxic pavement sealants, which can cause cancer in fish and humans.”
People who lived next to coal-tar-sealcoated pavement had a 38 times higher risk of developing cancer, according to the U.S. government. Here in Hampton Roads, high levels of the associated chemicals have been linked to widespread fish cancer in the Elizabeth River.
A Northern Virginia delegate has now brought a bill targeting toxic sealants. The legislation, advocated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, would allow localities to ban them.
Not all pavement sealers are created equal. Sealcoating is an important and integral step in the long-term life of your asphalt. But, not all contain carcinogens or harmful ingredients.
“It makes all the sense in the world not to use these things,” said Joe Wood, senior scientist with the bay foundation. “The science is really quite strong.”
Asphalt sealants are common alternatives to those made of coal tar, Wood said. They work just as well and are no more expensive, he added.
The article states that “the Elizabeth River has been found to be a hotspot for the chemicals — with contamination from PAHs about 463 times the average elsewhere in the Chesapeake Bay.”
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