From the Chicago Tribune:
If a company dumped the black goop behind a factory, it would violate all sorts of environmental laws and face an expensive hazardous-waste cleanup.
But playgrounds, parking lots and driveways in many communities are coated every spring and summer with coal tar, a toxic byproduct of steelmaking that contains high levels of chemicals linked to cancer and other health problems.
Nearly two decades after industry pressured the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to exempt coal tar-based pavement sealants from anti-pollution laws, a growing number of government and academic studies are questioning the safety of the widely used products. Research shows that the tar steadily wears off and crumbles into contaminated dust that is tracked into houses and washed into lakes. Read more.