Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Environmental Program

First Advisor

Robert Barlett

Second Advisor

Bindu Panikkar

Keywords

coal tar sealants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), chemicals of concern (COCs), toxins, policy analysis, policy design.

Abstract

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a class of organic compounds, form during the incomplete combustion of wood, fossil fuels, cooking, garbage, and tobacco (Abdel-Shafy and Mansour 2016). Empirical data has proven the toxicity of these compounds on human health and the environment due to their mutagenic, carcinogenic, persistent, bioaccumulative, and hydrophobic capabilities (Xue et al. 2015, White 2002, Abdel-Shafy and Mansour 2016). Coal tar-based emulsion is a sealant widely used throughout the United States (U.S.), particularly in the East, to protect and enhance the aesthetic appearance of pavement (Mahler et al. 2005). Coal tar sealants contain high concentrations of PAHs. Due to the toxicity of PAHs, jurisdictions across the U.S. have taken regulatory action prohibiting and/or restricting the use and/or sale of coal tar sealants. Analyses of three case studies from Washington, Minnesota and Austin, Texas, where successfully implemented regulations on the use and sale of coal tar sealants, informed a policy design for the State of Vermont. I recommend that the State of Vermont implement an incremental legislative ban against the use and sale of coal tar sealants, although two alternative regulations were considered: leaving coal tar sealants unregulated and implementing city-by-city ban.

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