|Downtown Austin as viewed from Lake Bird Lake in 2013.|
|Perspective of Lady Bird Lake looking westerly and showing much of the City drains to the Lake.|
|USGS graphic showing decline in PAHs after the coal tar sealer ban in Austin went into effect in 2006.|
|This USGS graphic contrasts the declining levels of DDT and PCBs with the increasing levels of PAHs nationwide. The PAH graph will need to be updated to reflect a limegreen down arrow in Austin, Texas!|
Two and a half years later the PCTC sponsored a study which erroneously showed the ban was ineffective in reducing PAH values in Austin’s creeks. Even though this was years before anyone would expect any result, the industry perpetuated the “no effect” myth throughout its legions and has used it as a major tool to defeat bans legislation across the country.
- In 2005, Mateo Scoggins, Senior Biologist for the City of Austin, told reporters that at the ban went into effect “we’re hoping over the long-term, 10 years, we’ll start to see significant changes in the amounts of PAHs in our streams.”
- In 2010, the USGS said that coal tar pavement sealers will take at least 15 years for the concentrations to decrease in half. This is based upon the decline found with other persistent chemicals after their use stopped.
With 2012 data, Scoggins told attendees of a webinar that some positive trends were being found, but not an overall clear picture.
The more we’ve learned, the more a sealant ban could be compared to the physical benefits of when quitting cigarette smoking. Most likely you heard that physical healing and restoration happens after a smoker quits. More specifically, improvement can be immediate, some will take a few years, and others can take as much as 20 years. For example it is reported that within 20 minutes from quitting smoking, there is a reduction in the smoker’s blood pressure.