Westmont approves coal-tar ban for village projects

The village of Westmont recently adopted an internal policy that prohibits the use of coal tar products in village municipal work projects.

Coal tar is a product that can be used as a sealant for asphalt pavement. A growing number of cities and states are banning the product outright, and many businesses do not sell these types of sealants in their stores.

“We want to thank our Environmental Improvement Commission for leading this conversation,” Public Works Director Mike Ramsey said. “We now add language in our bid proposals that let vendors know that we will not use coal tar products when we make repairs to our streets and related infrastructure. Some communities have actually instituted coal tar bans for all work in the community because of the harmful effects on the environment.”

The Westmont Environmental Improvement Commission is also encouraging residents to consider not using coal tar products. Residents may wish to take a conservative approach to risk mitigation by either selecting pavement sealants for self-application that are not coal tar based or hiring contractors that do not use this product. A listing of “CAS 65996-93- 2” on the ingredients label or material safety data sheet is an indicator that the product contains coal tar and should be avoided.

Alternative sealants that are generally considered as safer for the environment and possibly human health are asphalt or latex based. Both are readily available at home improvement stores.

For more information regarding coal tar, visit www.osha.gov.

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