Making the Switch from Coal Tar to Asphalt Emulsion Sealcoat

Results of the First Federal Study on Coal Tar Exposure
June 30, 2022
Public Works and Pavement Protection Programs
August 21, 2022

Making the Switch from Coal Tar to Asphalt Emulsion Sealcoat. There is a significant shortage of coal tar sealer happening in the United States and Canada. Producers are running out of product or putting limits on how much contractors can buy. Coal tar is being phased out by international issues, not to mention environmental and health issues. Let’s take a deeper look at what’s happening and why.

Why is Coal Tar so Hard to Get Now?

The simple reason is that there is a shortage of the raw material used to make coal tar sealers. This has impacted the supply chain, resulting in limited supplies of coal tar sealer products. The more complex reason is that many of the raw materials to manufacture coal tar sealers have typically come from Russia. Due to international sanctions over Russia’s war in Ukraine, Russia cannot export these raw materials anymore to many countries – including the US and Canada.

Another reason is environmental. The US has used coal tar sealers since the 1940s, despite the impacts on the environment and on people’s health. A recent study published by NIOSH and the CDC exposes just how much dangerous coal tar products can impact the people who work with it. Coal tar products contain harmful and carcinogenic chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These PAHs can cause cancer in people and are toxic to local ecosystems, fish and wildlife. Just working with coal tar products can cause skin irritation, burns and lesions on the skin and respiratory distress. It’s beyond time to switch to a cleaner, greener and just plain safer product.

Switching to Asphalt Emulsion

Now is the time to switch to an asphalt emulsion product like Pitch Black. This asphalt emulsion contains 0.00% PAHs, so it’s safer for people and for our local ecosystems and wildlife. There are a number of other benefits too…

  • No supply issues and no shortage. Because asphalt emulsion doesn’t use coal tar or the other dangerous raw ingredients in coal tar sealers, there is no manufacturing shortage and there is plenty of supply available. All of the ingredients are sourced locally so there is no supply chain issue.
  • It’s safer for people. Non-toxic and non-carcinogenic asphalt emulsion is safer for the contractors who work with it and safer for the families in the areas where it is applied.
  • It’s better for the environment. Because it’s non-toxic and contains no PAHs, any runoff into local ecosystems is neutral and doesn’t harm fish, plants or wildlife.
  • It gives a rich, long-lasting black color. Many coal tar sealers just produce a color that quickly turns gray once applied. Pitch Black has a deep black color that is durable and lasts a long time while providing all the benefits of a great sealcoat product.

Making the switch to asphalt emulsion is easy – simply change who you get your sealcoat product from. In the Carolinas, you can get Pitch Black Asphalt Emulsion from EcoShield Asphalt Products. We have locations in Conway and Columbia in South Carolina and Charlotte in North Carolina. We have no restrictions on quantity and no shortages of product. Have questions? We’d love to answer them! Give us a call or drop us an email today.