"Coal Tar Industry Fights Bans on Sealants"

"Lobbying group funds research, argues products are safe despite government studies linking them to pollution."

"When officials in suburban Des Plaines read about the hazards of spreading cancer-causing coal tar on playgrounds, parking lots and driveways, they moved to join other communities across the nation that have banned pavement sealants made with the industrial byproduct.

A City Council committee ordered staff to research the issue, drafted an ordinance to outlaw the widely used products and recommended its passage. Aldermen cited federal, state and academic studies showing that coal tar sealants contain high levels of toxic chemicals, steadily wear off and crumble into dust tracked into houses and washed into waterways.

But the coal tar industry was ready for a fight. After Austin, Texas, in 2005 became the first U.S. city to ban coal tar sealants, industry leaders formed a tax-exempt lobbying group and started funding their own research — all in an effort to convince homeowners and elected officials that coal tar sealants are safe."

Michael Hawthorne reports for the Chicago Tribune March 28, 2013.

Source: Chicago Tribune, 03/29/2013