Milwaukee Common Council Bans Use of Coal Tar Sealants

Common Council voted 15-0 to ban the use and sale of coal tar sealants and other select high PAH level pavement sealant products in Milwaukee.

Authored by Alderman Jim Bohl, the ordinance was approved by the full Council this morning and is co-sponsored by Alderman Nik Kovac, Alderman Terry L. Witkowski, Alderman Michael J. Murphy, Alderman Tony Zielinski, Alderman José G. Pérez, Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II, and Alderman Cavalier Johnson.

The ordinance approved bans the use and sale of coal tar sealants and other pavement sealant products that contain greater than 1% polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) by weight.

Alderman Bohl said PAH’s are highly toxic and pose serious health and environmental dangers.  A known human carcinogen, PAH’s have been shown to increase cancer rates in humans 38 fold over lifetime exposure and have been found by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to pose more harm to aquatic life in U.S. streams than any other chemical pollutant.

The unanimous vote came after a hard, last-ditch lobbying push from the trade association representing the sealcoating industry, Alderman Bohl said.

“I applaud my colleagues for rejecting a deceptive and misleading effort by the Pavement Coatings Technology Council (PCTC) to derail legislation that is soundly supported by science and research,” Alderman Bohl said, noting a series of documents attached to this release puts the PCTC lobbying effort in Milwaukee in perspective.

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