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New USGS Study Reveals Cancer Risk from Parking Lot Dust Entering Homes


LA Testing provides testing services to detect hazardous polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from environmental and indoor settings.

Los Alamitos, CA

Coal tar has been known to cause cancer since chimney sweeps in the 18th century were found to have high levels of scrotal cancer. It has also been implicated in contaminating waterways and stunting the growth, or killing, creatures that inhabit the water. Now, according to a new government report, the material is showing up in parking lot dust and entering homes.

Coal tar is a commonly used ingredient in one of two major types of pavement sealers. According to the research the cancer-causing material has been found in household dust when properties near pavement and parking lots have been treated with the sealant.

The report comes from research that was conducted in Austin, Texas by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Sealcoats used on driveways, playgrounds and parking lots made with coal tar appear to be the major culprit.

As the coal tar in the pavement sealer degrades over time, small particles of the material can be blown or tracked into homes. The USGS study found levels of PAHs in apartment building dust that was 25 times higher than usual when a coal tar sealant was used in the parking lot as compared to other buildings. They also found that levels of PAHs from dust taken directly on the treated pavement had levels of PAHs 530 times higher than non-treated surfaces.

LA Testing, an affiliate of EMSL Analytical, is a leading provider of PAH analyses and other environmental testing services to clients across the West Coast. “These reports are eye opening and of especial concern to families with small children,” reported Ben Sublasky, National Director of Client Services for LA Testing and EMSL Analytical. “Because young children have a high metabolic rate they are at increased risks to exposure to PAHs.”

To learn more about PAHs, coal tar or other environmental testing services please visit, email or call (800) 755-1794.

About LA Testing and EMSL Analytical, Inc.
LA Testing and EMSL Analytical are providers of environmental testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The companies have an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.


 USGS Reveals Cancer Risk
 Parking Lot Dust Homes
 hazardous polycyclic
 aromatic hydrocarbons
 PAHs environmental

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