"Jacksonville Sealcoat Raises Home Health Concern"

"A material that’s spread on parking lots and driveways in Jacksonville and nationally may be causing buildups of cancer-causing dust inside some homes, government researchers say.

The finding by scientists who normally investigate water pollution raises questions about a potential health hazard, especially for children.

The material, known as sealcoat, is a shiny, black substance made from coal tar, a byproduct of some industrial coal uses. As much as half of coal tar’s weight can come from a family of chemical compounds called PAHs — polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons — that increase cancer risks for people.

Sealcoat is sprayed or painted onto many parking lots to protect the pavement and improve appearance.

After concluding that rainwater was carrying some pollutants into the rivers as sealcoat broke down with wear and tear, scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey asked whether that debris was ending up inside homes, too."

Steve Patterson reports for the Jacksonville News February 1, 2010.

Monday, February 1, 2010