Study comes amid attempts across U.S. to ban use on playgrounds, parking lots and driveways

Children living next to driveways or parking lots coated with coal tar are exposed to significantly higher doses of cancer-causing chemicals than those living near untreated asphalt, according to a study that raises new questions about commonly used pavement sealants.

Researchers from Baylor University and theU.S. Geological Survey also found that children living near areas treated with coal tar-based sealants ingest twice as many polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, from contaminated dust tracked into their homes than they do from food.

The peer-reviewed study, and other new research documenting how coal tar sealants emit high levels of troublesome chemicals into the air, comes amid attempts by several cities in the Midwest, South and East to ban the products' use on playgrounds, parking lots and driveways. Some major retailers have pulled the products from their shelves, but coal tar sealants remain widely available elsewhere.

"There's been a long-held assumption that diet is the major source of exposure for children," said Peter Van Metre, a USGS scientist who co-authored the studies. "But it turns out that dust ingestion is a more significant pathway." Read More

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