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Ordinance Banning the Use of Coal Tar and Other High PAH Pavement Sealant Products

Post Date:10/07/2019 10:33 AM

The City of Oak Creek adopted an ordinance prohibiting the sale and use of coal tar pavement sealant products and any pavement sealant product containing > 0.1% polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) by weight. This ordinance was passed to improve and protect public health and the water quality of Oak Creek and neighboring water resources.

Under this ordinance:

  • No person shall apply coal tar or any other high PAH sealant product within the City of Oak Creek.
  • No person shall allow coal tar or any other high PAH sealant product to be applied on property under that person’s ownership or control within the City of Oak Creek.
  • No person shall sell coal tar or any other high PAH sealant product within the City of Oak Creek.
  • Any person selling pavement sealants products in the City of Oak Creek must display a sign informing customers of the prohibition.
  • Any person who applies prohibited products is subject to a fine of at least $500 and up to $10,000 per violation.


Pavement sealants are commonly applied to driveways, parking lots, playgrounds, and private roads to provide maintain a deep black color and to protect the underlying pavement. Some types of pavement sealants, particularly coal tar sealants, contain high levels of PAHs. Many PAHs are toxic, carcinogenic (cancer-causing), and/or cause birth defects or developmental problems in humans and animals.


There are sealant products that contain much lower, or no, PAHs. Asphalt emulsion sealants are widely available and contain about a thousand times fewer PAHs. Acrylic or latex sealants contain no PAHs. 

Do not use or allow contractors to use high PAH sealants on your property. Look at the ingredients listed on product’s label or material safety data sheet (which distributors and contractors should be able to provide) and avoid products listing any of the following terms: 

coal tar, coal tar pitch, coal tar distillates, RT-12, refined tar, refined coal tar pitch, coal tar pitch volatiles, tar, steam-cracked petroleum residue, steam-cracked asphalt, pyrolysis fuel oil, pyrolysis oil, heavy aromatic pyrolysis oil, heavy fuel oil (HFO), heavy pyrolysis oil (HPO), ethylene tar, ethylene bottoms

or chemical abstract service (CAS) numbers:

65996-92-1; 65996-93-2; 65996-89-6; 8007-45-2; 64742-90-1; 69013-21-4

If you suspect someone is using a prohibited sealant product, contact the Health Department at 414-766-7950.


United States Geological Survey Website on the Issue

United State Environmental Protection Agency fact sheet

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