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Have You Heard the Hazardous Myths about Seal Coating?

Cracking the Myths about Seal Coating

Sealcoating is a protective layer that is applied to asphalt pavement to shield the existing asphalt from oxidation from the sun’s UV rays and degradation from vehicular traffic. Sealcoating is the first line of defense when it comes to parking lot maintenance. It helps preserve the life of the asphalt and maintain the parking lot’s integrity.

While sealcoating is a valuable product in parking lot maintenance, it is often deplored because it contains refined coal-tar. A few claims have been made by the US Geological Survey (USGS) about sealcoating indicating that refined coal-tar based sealers are “toxic waste”; however, the Pavement Coatings Technology Council (PCTC), has an abundance of scientific data proving otherwise.

Pavement sealer is NOT made from a waste product and air sampling studies have shown that this refined tar-based sealers pose little to no health threats to manufacturers and contractors. The sealants are under scrutiny because the sealants contain Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons.

These Hyrdocarbons are found in many sources that we use or ingest daily, such as, grilled and baked foods, bread, cereal, grains and even certain vegetables. Coal tar can even be found in certain shampoos and conditioners that help treat eczema and psoriatic dermatitis.

Both OSHA and EPA also classified that the refined sealant is not hazardous. Numerous independent studies have concluded that the coal tar sealants pose little to no risk the environment and the health of those handling the product. The sealants are insoluble in water, meaning that living organisms can’t easily absorb them.

Similarly to most cleaning products we use today, skin irritation can occur when applying sealer, but if handled properly by practicing appropriate safety measures and personal hygiene, irritation shouldn’t be an issue. It is always best to practice safety when handling any type of chemical. The best way to protect yourself includes wearing long sleeves, full length pants, and gloves. Depending on weather conditions, it is also recommended to wear a hat and face mask.

If you are thinking about sealcoating your parking lot or have questions about sealcoating, contact American Asphalt Company at 856-456-2899 and we would be happy to help you.