As the name suggests, coal-tar is derived from coal. Coal tar is used primarily for the production of refined chemicals and coal-tar products, such as creosote and coal-tar pitch. Coal tar is proven to cause cancer.
Now you may ask, “What is coal-tar pitch? Why should this concern me?” Coal-tar pitch is a thick black liquid that remains after the distillation of coal tar. It is used as a base for coating and paint, in roofing and paving, and as a binder in asphalt products. Both coal tar and coal-tar pitch contain many chemical compounds, including carcinogens such as benzene.
The primary routes of human exposure to coal tars and coal-tar products are inhalation, ingestion, and absorption through the skin. Workers who may be exposed to coal-tar pitches include those who produce or use pavement tar, roofing tar, coal-tar paints, coal-tar enamels, other coal-tar coatings, or refractory bricks. The general population may be exposed to coal tars in environmental contaminants and through the use of coal tar preparations to treat skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, and dandruff.
What cancers are associated with coal tar? Occupational exposure to coal tar or coal-tar pitch is associated with an increased risk of skin cancer. Other types of cancer, including lung, bladder, kidney, and digestive tract cancer, have also been linked to occupational exposure to coal tar and coal-tar pitch.
More information can be found at www.Cancer.gov.
As a supplier, contractor, or consumer, at some point each and every one of us have to take responsibility for the environment and not only our health, but the health of others. Especially if you are a supplier or a contractor you should take this report into serious consideration. If a customer or employee is diagnosed with cancer it is possible that attorneys and the courts will attempt to hold everybody responsible if a lawsuit is filed. We are not attempting to practice law, but if you are a supplier or contractor that sells or uses coal tar it’s encouraged that you seek legal counsel.
If coal tar causes cancer what are my other options for asphalt seal coating? There are two others types of asphalt sealers on the market: Asphalt Based sealers and Acrylic sealers.
Acrylic sealers are the least widely used sealers in existence today. They add nothing back to the asphalt and while they are not carcinogenic they certainly cause other health disorders like dizziness, weakness, nausea, headaches, and even worse, possible gastrointestinal irritation. Prolonged exposure to acrylic sealers can cause damage to kidneys, lungs, blood, and central nervous system. Repeated ingestion may cause liver damage. Typically, they are more expensive than asphalt based or coal tar sealers.
Asphalt based sealers are made using asphalt emulsion which is asphalt cement emulsified with water using an emulsifier to homogenize and stabilize the emulsion. Asphalt cement is the binder used in asphalt pavement. Therefore, when you use asphalt based sealer you are using the same product that was used to hole the aggregate in place to begin with and you are adding aback asphalt particles to the pavement which acts like a rejuvenator. Asphalt based sealers are environmentally friendly.
Our intentions are not to use this information against manufacturers or suppliers, but to educate any person on the potential dangers of using coal tar and acrylic asphalt pavement sealers.