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Coal-tar pavement sealants increase ingestion of cancer-causing particles: study

February 22, 2012

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Austin, TX – Children living near coal-tar pavement sealants are exposed to more than twice as many cancer-causing particles from ingesting contaminated house dust than from food, according to a new study from the U.S. Geological Survey and Baylor University.

Researchers compared the ingestion rate of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (.pdf file) – cancer-causing particles associated with coal-tar sealant – for children between 3 and 5 years old living in houses near and not near the sealant. Researchers found that children living in apartments ajacent to parking lots with coal-tar sealants likely receive more than twice as much PAHs from incidental ingestion of house dust than from their diet.

The study referenced other recent research from USGS that found dust in houses adjacent to parking lots with the sealant contained 25 times more PAHs than those adjacent to unsealed lots and suggested that reducing the amount of the sealant used in the United States would decrease ingestion of the particles.

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