“Perfect” Planned Community Forgot One Thing: Coal Tar Sealers

Green Light for Black Goo in Idyllic, Disney Community


CELEBRATION, FLORIDA — Just in time for their 20th anniversary celebration, one of the nation’s premier planned communities is getting a new coat, not of paint, but of toxic coal tar pavement sealer.

Soon after it opened it won a prestigious award as one of the nation’s top community designs from the Urban Land Institute. It boasts of a Utopian vision against the evils of suburban sprawl where cars rule, monotony reigns and people are de-humanized. Instead a diverse housing stock with lots of front porches are thoughtfully laid out amidst plenty of open space with beautiful landscapes. Celebration welcomes residents and visitors to leave the car behind and walk.

Ironic that a community long-applauded for its attention to detail of every aspect of a suburban life would overlook an issue so common-place that it has made it into mainstream publications like Popular Mechanics and Reader’s Digest.

Toxicologists will tell you that the most-susceptible population to coal tar sealer pollution are children. So where did the captains of Celebration decide to put this latest coating of toxic goo? At the entrance to the K-8 Celebration School.

Here are some excerpts from the bid:

The ironies don’t stop with the use of coal tar sealers in the community. In September they held a cancer fundraiser entitled, “Tee it up fore Cancer.” Did anyone realize that the entrance drive (see picture) to the golf course was probably coated in coal tar?  The same chemical used in a laboratory 100 years ago to prove that CANCER can be caused by chemical exposure?

Actually some slack should be given to these decision-makers. This issue cannot be found on a single website of an environmental organization in Florida. In over ten years there may have been just one locally-produced story about coal tar sealers in a Florida newspaper. No government agency is discouraging its use. And are the producers and sellers of this product going to tell anyone?

So what should Celebration, Florida do? Simply stop the application of coal tar sealers, use safer alternatives already on the market and become the first community in Florida to ban the product. That would be an anniversary present that all could celebrate!


Photo credits:
Celebration Theatre
Celebration Golf Course

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