U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientist Barbara Mahler speaking on Capitol Hill about PAH pollution in urban lakes. Several polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are probable human carcinogens and they are toxic to fish and other aquatic life. New USGS findings show that coal tar-based pavement sealant is a much larger source of PAHs to urban lakes than previously identified sources, such as vehicle emissions, used motor oil, and tire particles. Additionally, levels of PAHs in the dust of residences adjacent to parking lots with coal tar-based sealants are about 25 times higher than in the dust of residences near other surface types. # The District of Columbia; City of Austin, Texas; Dane County, Wisconsin; and several municipalities in Minnesota have banned the sale and use of coal tar-based products. On April 13, 2011, the Washington State Senate passed what is likely to become the first statewide ban on the use and sale of coal tar sealants. More information is available at eesi.org/041411_pah

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