New York lawmakers ban coal tar as a driveway sealer | New
ALBANY (TNS) – In a few years, homeowners could look for alternatives when they want to repair or seal their driveways.
Lawmakers this week passed a bill that, if signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, would ban the use of coal tar, the dense, pungent-smelling paste that is used for waterproofing domestic pavements. and commercial.
A ban has been debated for a decade and some municipalities already ban its use. In addition, most highway or road builders have switched to other petroleum-based products to lay the pavement.
But coal tar is still used in driveways and parking lots. Environmentalists say the suspected carcinogen can easily spread through watersheds, harming aquatic life. It is also harmful to humans who have long term exposure.
Coal tar is a by-product of the manufacture of coking coal for the steel industry and other industrial uses. It has been around for centuries and is also known to have medicinal uses due to its anti-fungal and anti-itch properties.
But coal tar used as a sealant contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – molecular structures of carbon and hydrogen – which are believed to bind to DNA.
This has long been worrisome from a health standpoint, with links to cancer in chimney sweeps in centuries past and more recently in those working on pavement sealers.
“We know that coal tar is bad for our health and our environment, and it is high time we followed the lead of other cities and states that have already taken steps to limit its use,” said the MP. Linda Rosenthal, Democrat of New York. who sponsored the ban with Senator James Sanders, another Democrat in town.
Coal tar bans are already in place in Minnesota, Washington State and the District of Columbia.
The measure has been supported by a wide range of environmental organizations including Riverkeeper, Coal Tar Free America, Clean and Healthy NY, NYPIRG, Environmental Advocates NY, Sierra Club, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, NRDC and others.
The ban will not apply to railway ties, which are made of creosote, also derived from coal tar.
This is because the bill covers the uses regulated by the state. Rail lines, like interstate highways, are largely federally regulated. New York State has banned the use of creosote-treated lumber in decks.
If enacted, the ban would take effect in two years.
(c) 2021 Times Union (Albany, NY) Visit Times Union (Albany, NY) at www.timesunion.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.