In a recent letter, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supported the coal tar sealer research findings of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in spite of an industry complaint. The industry had sought to have a publication by the EPA removed from their website.
The publication, which we have linked to here, is part of an overview series of best management practices that communities can take to improve the quality of their stormwater runoff. It is a general information fact sheet which is just two pages long and covers the issue of coal tar sealants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and actions communities have taken to reduce these pollutants through the regulation of sealer products.
Industry complained about statements concerning the impact of PAHs on humans and the environment. The EPA was willing to clarify the statement that says many PAH’s are of concern.
One of the long-standing positions by industry is that the USGS research is flawed. However US EPA agreed that the “quality, objectivity, and transparency is sufficient for their intended uses. EPA is therefore retaining the references to the studies in its publications.”
EPA response also reiterated that it “conducted its own research on this topic, and a study that was a set subject to the Agency’s peer and administrative review found that coal tar seal coat releases 100 to 1000 times more PAH’s than other types of surfaces.”
This debunks the grand conspiracy theory perpetuated by the industry that coal tar sealer pollution is merely a witchhunt by a few government scientists.
Ironically a recent industry meeting with the sole purpose of teaching seal coat applicators how to convince their customers to continue to use coal tar sealers failed to mention that the EPA supports the findings USGS on this topic. How convenient!
You can read the entire letter below.