Toxic parking lots shed dust that boosts kids' cancer risk, InvestigateWest says in major story

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rm iwest mugOK, folks, it's the moment we've all been waiting for since we launched InvestigateWest last year: Our first big story is running today! And it's on, so we expect a lot of eyeballs to be on this 0ne.

This is an amazing tale about a series of studies that this week revealed that toxic dust from parking lots is making its way into Americans' homes in eyebrow-raising quantities. And because it's ending up in house dust, it's a particular worry for kids, for whom it raises lifetime cancer risks significantly, according to research led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Please go read the story, will you? We want to get all the clicks we can over at But do come back and visit Dateline Earth in the next week or so, because there was really quite a bit we didn't get to get into, even in the decently in-depth treatment we were able to give the topic for

InvestigateWest has been proud of what we've been able to accomplish so far, including our independent coverage of the Copenhagen climate talks, organizing into a non-profit, getting an incredibly talented board up and running, and landing grants from the Bullitt Foundation and the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

But this toxic parking lots piece is a great example of our main reason for being: In-depth journalism on the environment, public health and social-justice issues (although this coal tar thing, in an unusual twist, seems likely to be more of a problem for well-to-do suburban families than for poor folks. ) This is a story that has been ignored by the news media, with the exception of a couple of regional papers, for years -- despite mounting evidence that the coal tar was harming the environment. Now there's pretty solid evidence that it could pose a serious health risk for people. I'll be developing the story here in coming weeks, so check back for more.

And, folks, we have more stories where that one came from that you aren't going to see anywhere else. Stay tuned.

-- Robert McClure


Gavin: I manage our efforts on the coal tar sealant ban in Austin. While we don't endorse products per se, we have a list of sealants on our website that do not contain coal tar. Many are available throughout the country. Good luck. Tom
Way to go - happy to see this new investigative journalism getting some traction. A scary story too.
I think it's great that you are looking out for our health. I saw your article on TOXIC DUST and will inform others. I was wondering if you take suggestions on other "potentially" hazardous materials that are being sold and used in homes and offices throughout America. I know of such and don't know how to investigate or get the word out. Please respond if you are interested. Thank You Robert Beets
Now that this commonly used sealant/sealcoat has been found to be toxic; is there a product available that protects against this? I was planning on sealcoating my own driveway this spring but am plannig otherwise until I can find a sealant that does not have this issue.