PAHs in Sealcoat»


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Sitelab Corporation completed a U.S. EPA funded grant with Chesapeake Bay Trust for DOEE in Washington, DC to create a certification program testing the PAH content in pavement sealants.  Materials used to manufacture sealcoats vary; most in commercial use are made with coal tar, ethylene cracked residue (ECR) or are asphalt-based.  Manufacturers who participate will know if their product meets a 1,000 ppm (Gold) or 10,000 ppm (Silver) regulatory limit. 
The Quality Assurance Protocol developed by Sitelab requires laboratory analysis be performed using EPA Method 8270D by GC/MS to report 17 polycyclic aromatic compounds.  Pavement sealants are used on driveways and parking lots only.  These products are not used on roads or highways.   
An ongoing list of CERTIFIED SEALCOAT PRODUCTS is available informing the public of the general concentration of PAHs in each manufacturer's product.  This information can be used for communities that want to ban sealcoats made with high concentrations of PAHs.

Sealcoating is applied to parking lots and driveways to improve the look and longevity of pavement.    
 What Compounds are Regulated?


Asphalt-based sealcoats, like these bucket brands purchased at retail stores, are mostly used on driveways by homeowners. 

Most manufacturers who make coal tar and ECR products, also make asphalt-based sealants used by professional contractors for commercial applications.

Learn More About PAH Contents in Pavement Sealants...


Feb 10, 2023 Article: "Forensic Analysis using UVF and USGS Laboratory Results Testing PAHs in Coal Tar Pavement Sealants."

This study compares Sitelab’s UVF-Trilogy data and laboratory GC/MS data using double ratio plots testing the PAH content in pavement sealants.  Ratios were then applied using data in three studies conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey concerning the use of coal tar sealants and how they impact the environment.  Download: COAL TAR FORENSICS STUDY

 Current Bans in U.S. With and Without PAH Limits

See this website for more info: COALTARFREEUSA.COM

Visit City of Austin's Watershed Protection website to learn more about bans.  Austin has adopted DOEE's QA Protocol for sealcoat analysis and certification.
Want to Help the Merrimack River?  Ban Coal Tar and High-PAH Parking Lot Sealants       

Read the Op-Ed written by Steve Greason of Sitelab Corp for ACES, in Newburport's THE DAILY NEWS newspaper, November 25, 2022.

The Merrimack River watershed in New Hampshire and Massachusetts is 5,000 square miles in size with 2.6 million residents, 600,000 of which use the river for drinking water.  Combined sewer overflows is the biggest problem, but urban runoff is also polluting the river.  Prohibiting the use of coal tar sealants in both States would be an easy fix and help protect human health and the environment.

The State of Maine recently passed a ban into law with a 10,000 ppm PAH limit, which is too high, but a good start.  New York State and Canada also just passed bans and both have plans in the works to lower the limit to 1,000 ppm. 

  "If our neighbors are doing it, we should too.  It’s time New Hampshire and Massachusetts take action.  Ask your elected officials to get legislation started.  It can only help the river." 


See Merrimack River Survey



Types of Sealcoats, Concentration Ranges and Products Available in U.S. Market

Manufacturers who make asphalt-based sealcoats, which are low in PAH content, are encouraged to submit samples for analysis.  In most cases, testing is free.  Use the chain of custody forms to collect and submit your samples.  See DOEE's QA Protocol, Appendix & User's Guide below for details.
DOEE, Washington, D.C.         

Manufacturers who want to get their products certified with the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), can ship samples to Sitelab for laboratory analysis using DOEE's new QA Protocol. 
Use the DOEE CHAIN OF CUSTODY FORM if you are a sealcoat manufacturer and would like to get your products tested or visit DOEE's website for details:







See list of qualified sealcoat products tested to date:


See SOP for collecting field 'scrapings' from driveways and parking lots for analysis:

City of Austin, Texas, Watershed Protection Department

Sitelab Corporation is contracted with Austin's Watershed Protection Dept. to analyze and qualify sealcoat products for the City's 1,000 ppm PAH limit. 
Use the AUSTIN CHAIN OF CUSTODY FORM if you are a sealcoat manufacturer and would like to get your products tested or visit Austin's website for details:

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services, North Carolina

Sitelab Corporation is contracted with Mecklenburg County's Storm Water Services in Charlotte, NC, to analyze and qualify sealcoat products for the County's 1,000 ppm PAH limit. 
Use the MECKLENBURG CHAIN OF CUSTODY FORM if you are a sealcoat manufacturer and would like to get your products tested or visit their website for details:




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