SEATTLE - A Seattle lawmaker wants Washington to ban toxic compounds in pavement sealants used to maintain driveways and parking lots, but his efforts appear to have hit a curb.
Rep. David Frockt, D-Seattle, said safer alternatives are available to coal-tar-based pavement sealants, which pose growing environmental concerns. He testified Tuesday in Olympia in support of his bill.
But at the hearing, Rep. Dave Upthegrove, the chairman of the House Environment Committee, said the bill won’t likely get a vote this year. He said after the hearing that he’s not opposed to the bill, but wants to do due diligence and engage everyone who would be affected by it. It’s a matter of timing and process, he said.
House Bill 1721 would prohibit the sale of coal-tar sealants after Jan. 1, 2012, and ban the application of such products after July 1, 2012.
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Such sealants have been used for decades on parking lots, driveways and playgrounds to prevent them from cracking, but they contain high levels of toxic compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. PAHs are a concern because they’re toxic to fish and other aquatic life. Several are probable human carcinogens.
A December 2010 study by the U.S. Geological Survey found that coal-tar sealants have contaminated 40 urban lakes, including Lake Washington and Lake Ballinger in Mountlake Terrace.