The House Consumer Protection Committee has approved legislation introduced by Rep. Laura Fine, D-Glenview to ban the use of coal tar — a chemical commonly found in sealants used in parking lots and playgrounds.

Fine, whose district includes much of Evanston, says, “The toxins found in coal tar are extremely carcinogenic. Last year a study by the American Medical Association showed that people’s risk of developing cancer increases dramatically with long-term exposure to pavements and playgrounds with coal tar sealants. The impact is even worse when taking into account the contamination of our waterways and drinking water with water runoffs from coal tar surfaces.”

Several states and municipalities, including Washington, Minnesota, Austin, Milwaukee and Washington, D.C., have banned the use of coal tar in their communities. Locally, Wilmette, Winnetka and Highland Park have banned the use of coal tar.

Fine’s House Bill 2958 would prohibit Illinois retailers from selling coal-tar based sealants beginning January 2018. Her proposal would prohibit coal tar sealants from being used beginning July 2019.

“Since I first introduced this legislation in 2014, many communities and organizations have realized the hazards of coal tar sealants,” Fine said. “In fact, the American Medical Association made banning the use of coal tar one of their top legislative priorities. It is clear that coal tar poses a significant health risk to the people in our community and our environment. We need to stop using this dangerous chemical as soon as possible.”

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