A letter in the June 17 Tomahawk Leader:
This is a public awareness notice! I am a business man, I have been in the asphalt business for some time now and people are constantly asking what to use, and when to seal their driveways and parking lots. I give them my opinion that they should use an oil-based asphalt sealer because it’s better for your blacktop’s look and longevity. Oil-based sealer conditions your blacktop and restores moisture that is taken out from nature’s wear and tear. There are some other products that dry out your blacktop creating cracks, causing your blacktop to become brittle, and taking away its longevity. This material is called water-based sealer with coal tar. This coal-tar sealer not only destroys your blacktop, but I also found on a web site that it is also hazardous. Our state government and DNR are aware of these dangers, in my opinion. They must, being since they have banned the use of coal-tar sealers in Dane County where our politicians work and live.
Now, as for the rest of the state we are still allowed to apply this hazardous material at our churches, schools, shopping centers, businesses, medical centers and homes. Don’t just take my word for it, you can research it on the Internet for yourself. Studies have been done and proven. There are alternative sealers, some water based that are still inferior to oil-based asphalt sealer.
As for the oil-based sealer, that is more secure and healthier for your blacktop and you, is restricted to usage from Sept. 30 to May 1. Why? Because they believe it to be harmful to the ozone. However, it is only if, during application, temperatures rise above 85 degrees. So common sense says don’t use it above that temperature, right? With the seasons unpredictable, and weather changing constantly doesn’t it make more sense to restrict usage above a harmful temp instead of an unharmful time frame? What does time have to do with temperature? With these restrictions on this oil-based sealer people are forced to use these water-based, coal tar sealers. These sealers not only being transferable and harmful, cost just about as much as oil-based sealer and secure the jobs of all asphalt paving companies, because it will end up costing you more when you have to replace your blacktop. There may even become a higher cost when the government decides that you will have to dispose of your old coal tar sealed blacktop as being hazardous waste.
As for the comment about being transferable, coal tar sealers do not blend in to your blacktop and will carry on to shoes, hands, into water drainage, etc. Do you really want your children, grandchildren or any children putting chalk on something like that? Or your pets or wildlife drinking from puddles carrying dangerous materials? Do we not have freedom of choice? Please contact your local congressman and ask him why are we being exposed and where is our choice?
Sincerely, a concerned citizen