The Sealant Controversy at the Grass Roots

PCTC has met with state and county elected representatives, with city council members, and with local, state, and federal government employees to talk about pavement sealcoating. These meetings have little in common with the experience of sealant contractors, who meet with property owners and managers about protecting substantial investments in asphalt parking lots.

Because of the controversies swirling around the web about health or environmental impacts of refined coal tar-based sealant (RTS), contractors face some hard questions from property managers – hard because the questions and the answers to those questions are rooted in complicated science.

Recently, PCTC was asked to attend a home owner’s association (HOA) meeting of a community where some residents protested the use of sealcoat. At the meeting, the depth of the resident’s concern was made clear by how deep some residents had immersed themselves in learning about the controversy. Several came to the HOA meeting armed with binders full of information pulled down from both the USGS and PCTC’s websites. The amount of effort some residents had put into trying to understand the issues resulted in many well thought out questions during a discussion that lasted for over an hour. Some residents were hostile, but many were not - they were in search of information that could help them understand. Quite a contrast to the 3 or 5 minutes usually allotted at public hearings held by governments!

PCTC’s free seminar at the upcoming National Pavement Expo in Charlotte offers advice for contractors faced with situations such as talking to governments or to hostile homeowners. Speakers will draw from their experiences talking with governments, property managers, and hostile homeowners. PCTC is pleased that Paul Furiga of WordWrite Communications is on the program to share his expertise and insights in how to talk about sealcoating and the complicated controversies. Attendees will come away from the seminar better prepared to both promote and defend sealcoating.

For more information about the Pavement Coatings Technology Council (PCTC) visit