Remember that movie from a few years back called "Waiting for Superman"? In the same way, if you're waiting for someone else to solve this problem, you may be in for a long wait.
But what can one person do to make a difference on this issue?
Great question and it depends.
To guide people to what things they can do, we now have this new entitled "Action." It is located near the top of any page on the site. There you will find some general and specific ways you can help eliminate this product from your community.
One cannot argue with the influence that everyday citizens and local decision-makers can have in their own communities with coal tar sealant use and pollution. I have highlighted many of those citizens here in the past like a retiree in Florida ("Wanted: A Few More Sam Sisiskys Please") to a riverkeeper in North Carolina ("Tar Heal Town Tackles Toxic Sealant") to a former councilmember in Missouri ("Can the Coal Tar Issue Mar and Community's Reputation?") and not to mention the 9,000 or so that signed a petition for a national ban ("Note to Congress: Signatures and Comments Pour in on Coal Tar Sealant Ban Petition").
Illinois, and Ohio.
I would love to have a series of photos of children's chalk art encouraging people to stop using this product. Of course I would only want kids to draw on asphalt based sealer or bare asphalt, but it would still convey the message.
- Learn if you live in an area that may use coal tar sealants. The best guide I know of is a national survey of sealcoat applicators and their preferred products. Just hover your mouse over the state and find out the percentage. MicroPoll
- Find out if you have any close, probable coal tar sealer hot spots based upon the USGS' 40 Lakes Study.
View 40 Lakes Sampled by USGS for Coal Tar Sealants & PAH in a larger map
While some may disagree with this self-critique, I always try to allow elected and appointed officials to be the first to unveil a problem to the public. Let them be the heroes. Give folks the chance to make a good, well-thought out decision in private prior to being confronted in a public forum. Harry Truman has been quoted to say, "There is no end to what one can accomplish in public service, if you're willing to let others take credit." If they won't act, then go public.
Stay tuned for more to come here. Have a suggestion or an example letter you've sent? Just include it in the comments below. I'm looking forward to your participation in this grassroots effort.