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Ordinance To Ban Coal Tar-Based Sealcoat To Reduce Environmental Contamination

Ordinance To Ban Coal Tar-Based Sealcoat To Reduce Environmental Contamination

Ann Arbor Township is in the final stages of adopting an ordinance to prohibit the use of driveway sealants that contain higher amounts of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs).  Scientific studies have demonstrated a relationship between the use of these products and certain health and environmental concerns, including increased cancer risk and impaired water quality. The City of Ann Arbor, Dexter and Scio Townships already have such ordinances.

While it is a common practice to use sealants with 0.1 or more PAHs by weight – referred to as coal tar-based sealants – many PAHs have been identified as toxic, carcinogenic and associated with higher risk of birth defects.  Children who play on and near these surfaces are more likely to inhale PAHs, and particles also make it into homes on shoes and pets.  Studies also have found that 50-75% of all PAHs found in sediments in the Great Lakes region come from coal tar sealcoat.

There are several alternatives with significantly lower or no PAH contact, including asphalt-based sealcoat which is readily available at similar cost.  Asphalt based sealers and crack fillers carry the label: C.A.S. 8052-42-4. The product label also should state – Asbestos Free.

The new ordinance will apply both to commercial operators and homeowners, and will take effect 60 days after adoption.  Commercial operators contracted by a homeowner should confirm their compliance with the annual registration process required under the ordinance.

Additional information:

Draft of Township Ordinance (1st Reading)