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Toxic Roads Are Paving the Way to Trouble

road with coal tar pavement

Story at-a-glance -

  • Coal-tar-based pavement sealants contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that are 1,000 times more toxic than comparable products, contaminating waterways and endangering both aquatic life and humans
  • “Toxic sludge” from stormwater runoff is so poisonous in parts of the Pacific Northwest it can kill an adult coho salmon in just 2.5 hours, before it has a chance to spawn
  • Gas and wastewater used to de-ice roads were found to contain radioactive radium and barium, as well as ammonium in concentrations 50 times greater than recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Municipalities concerned about road toxicities got creative to alleviate the problem and came up with some very innovative solutions

By Dr. Mercola

You’ve probably smelled it — the overpowering, nostril-burning stench when new coal-tar pavement or sealant is being laid on a driveway, street, parking lot or playground. And you may have idly wondered how toxic the shiny black liquid spray might be, but moved on to other things because, after all, what can you do about it?

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