Highland Park bans use of pavement sealer containing coal tar

The use of coal tar for pavement sealing is banned in the City of Highland Park on both private and public properties for environmental and health concerns.

The Highland Park City Council passed a resolution on Jan. 9 banning the sale and use of coal tar products within the city. The decision, the City Manager’s Office said, was “based on findings of the city’s Natural Resources Commission(NRC), which concluded that coal tar sealants have an impact on public health and environment.”

As result of the decision, all pavement sealing contractors must secure an annual license from the city before performing any pavement sealing. Highland Park residents should ensure that their contractors are licensed by visiting the city’s website at www.cityhpil.com or contact the City Manager’s Office at 847-926-1000.

Coal tar sealants are known to contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which can cause cancer and birth defects in aquatic life. NRC said it has been researching the environmental impact of coal tar-derived pavement sealants in connection with improving storm water management and water pollution since November.

It found that “coal tar driveway sealants are widespread pollutants of water and major health threats.” Homeowners and businesses, NRC pointed out, can easily use similar pavement sealer products without coal tar. Many municipalities and states have already banned the use of coal products.

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