An Overview of Asphalts Impact on Air Quality


Asphalt plants mix gravel and sand with crude oil derivatives to make the asphalt used to pave roads, highways, and parking lots across the U.S. These plants release millions of pounds of chemicals to the air during production each year, including many cancer-causing toxic air pollutants such as arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde, and cadmium. Other toxic chemicals are released into the air as the asphalt is loaded into trucks and hauled from the plant site, including volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (1AHs), and very fine condensed particulates. [EPA]

Asphalt Fumes are Known Toxins. The federal Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] states "Asphalt processing and asphalt roofing manufacturing facilities are major sources of hazardous air pollutants such as formaldehyde, hexane, phenol, polycyclic organic matter, and mittens. Exposure to these air toxics may cause cancer, central nervous system problems, liver damage, respiratory problems and skin irritation." [EPA]

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