A joint study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the City of Austin (Texas) has found that runoff from parking lot sealcoat, a black coating used to protect and beautify asphalt, is a previously unrecognized source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Abraded sealcoat may be an important contributor to PAHs found in U.S. streams, the researchers say. PAHs are known to have adverse health effects on animals, plants and people. The researchers found that PAH levels from runoff obtained from parking lots treated with coal-tar sealcoat were 65 times higher than those obtained from unsealed parking lots, according to a study published in the June 22 Web edition of the American Chemical Society's journal Environmental Science and Technology
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