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Children Ingest Carcinogens from Coal-Tar-Sealed Pavement

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Children Ingest Carcinogens from Coal-Tar-Sealed Pavement

A new study shows that children are at risk for ingesting carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from coal-tar-sealed pavement.

From the cans we eat out of to the cosmetics we use on our skin, it seems that every day we learn about new sources of environmental toxins in our daily lives. Now, a new study shows that children are at risk for ingesting carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from coal-tar-sealed pavement.

The study, published in Environmental Pollution, found that children who live near pavement sealed with coal tar unknowingly ingest the toxins in the way of house dust. Their levels of PAH ingestion are double the levels children are estimated to ingest through food. This is significant because it shows that the carcinogens can travel to nearby residences and become trapped in dust. Coal-tar-sealed pavement is popular in residential driveways, parking lots, and even playgrounds.

PAHs are environmental toxins that exist in the air, soil, and even food at low concentrations. Recently, they have been linked to male breast cancer. Although they’re commonly used in pavement, alternatives do exist.

Parents can do their part by switching to a safer alternative when doing their next renovation project, as well as explaining their concerns to their schools and municipalities and urging them to do the same. It may also be a fun break to escape the paved playground and spend some time in nature as a family—it’s good for the spirit and free of coal-tar-sealed pavement!

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