Fine coaltar 041521SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) introduced a measure to protect children from toxic chemical exposure on coal-tar treated playgrounds and paved areas. 

“Parents should not have to worry about their children being exposed to toxic chemicals during recess,” Senator Fine said. “There are plenty of safer, more environmentally friendly alternatives which should be utilized.”

The Coal Tar Sealant Act would require public schools, public school districts, daycares and state agencies to disclose the use of coal tar-based sealant on playgrounds, parking lots and other paved areas. This legislation would also require groups planning to use coal tar-based sealant for a pavement project to look into cleaner alternatives.

Coal tar and some other sealants used in pavement projects contain high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), which can contaminate the environment as the sealants wear away over time. There are many environmentally friendly alternatives to coal tar-based sealants with little to no PAH that are available at a similar cost.

PAH compounds have been proven to cause cancer, birth defects and other health complications. Lifelong exposure to coal tar-treated pavements and playgrounds can increase an individual's cancer risk by 38 times.

“I’m proud to represent a district that already bans these toxic sealants in multiple cities, but it’s time for the rest of our state to follow suit to protect our families,” Senator Fine said. “We all deserve to live in a state with a healthy environment.”

Seven cities in Illinois have already banned coal-tar sealants, including three cities in the district Senator Fine represents. 

Senate Bill 692 passed the Environment and Conservation Committee and now goes to the full Senate.