Coal Tar sealcoating is the most common product used to seal pavement and asphalt surfaces primarily because of its availability and overall ease of application, but as professional sealcoaters we should remember that we have the responsibility to make sure were not damaging the environment while handling and applying this chemical.
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When properly applied and handled correctly, this is the most cost-effective product available. But when Coal Tar is mishandled and applied incorrectly it can be very hazardous to the environment. See our Sealcoat Application Guide for more useful information.
Coal Tar based sealcoat has very high concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and can affect the quality of groundwater.
Small particles of coal tar sealcoat can flake off of the surface of the pavement by car tires and wash into small streams by rainwater runoff.
If Coal Tar is applied and is washed off from rain, then it will likely wash into surrounding streams as well and this can affect our drinking water not to mention any aquatic life in small streams and ponds.
A recent study was performed in Texas by the National Water-Quality Assessment Program and the city of Austin where they determined that PAHs are an environmental concern because PAHs are toxic to aquatic life and are suspected human carcinogens. The study found that particles in runoff from coal tar sealcoated parking lots had PAH concentrations up to 65 times higher than surfaces not using sealcoating.
Several water purification and filter companies have begun to address this concern by offering their customers high-quality drinking water purification systems that effectively remove PAHs from drinking water.
In our experience with sealcoating sealers, we have found that Coal Tar sealers tend to be a regionally used product and for two reasons:
1) It's what's always been used.
2) Coal Tar Sealer is the only sealer manufactured within the region making it easy to buy.
While Coal Tar sealer was the pioneer to sealcoating, new sealcoat products called Emulsion Sealcoat Sealer have been created that are much better for the environment, safer to use and even more cost effective. While we do offer Coal Tar Sealcoat Sealers, we also recommend and sell 55 Gallon Barrel and BIG A 210 Gallon Bulk Tote emulsion sealcoating sealers that we can ship direct to your door.