Educate yourself about inaccurate assumptions often made about asphalt – as well as the realities that are sometimes overlooked. Read some common untruths and the real facts below… >>FAQ
Fact vs. Fiction
Untruth #1: Asphalt plants generate toxic emissions, and “fallout” drops within a two mile radius.
Asphalt emissions are not classifiable as a human carcinogen. Science shows that emissions from asphalt plants (based on concentration levels and exposure levels) is so infinitesimally small that it is difficult to measure and is considered non-toxic.
Even prolonged exposure for workers who regularly come into direct contact with asphalt are at negligible risk. ACGIH, MSHA, and OSHA have determined that adverse effects are not likely to occur in the workplace, provided exposure levels do not exceed the appropriate limits. Read the CDC report.
FACT: Asphalt Plants have been de-listed from the list of major polluters by the US EPA. On February 12, 2002, the US EPA concluded that the no asphalt concrete manufacturing facility has the potential to emit hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) approaching major source levels. Read the Delisting Letter.
Untruth #2: The EPA does not ensure that toxins from asphalt plants are limited to safe levels.
The industry has a long history of working with federal regulatory agencies, including EPA and OSHA. Since the early 1990s, EPA has done extensive testing on asphalt plant emissions, and in 2002, removed this industrial sector from the “major source” category – identifying that emissions from asphalt plants are not an area of concern. These findings were reaffirmed in 2014 by the EPA, identifying that asphalt plants are not a source of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs).
The International Agency for the Research of Cancer (IARC) concluded in 2012 that there is NO evidence of an association between asphalt fume and lung cancer in workers. IARC put bitumens (asphalt) in the same category as cell phones and coffee. Read the IARC conclusions.
Untruth #3: Asphalt plants are now being located in urban areas due to construction demands.
Asphalt plants have been responsibly operating in Colorado and across the country for decades. Oftentimes opponents are people who have moved in or built their homes nearby long after existing plants were established, but now want them moved elsewhere. “Not in my backyard” is often an emotional response to a plant that has been a good, responsible neighbor for decades.
Untruth #4: Asphalt processing facilities are major sources of hazardous air pollution and harmful odors.
At times, there may be noticeable emissions coming from an asphalt plant’s stack, but in almost all circumstances, this is just steam. Steam is produced during asphalt production from the moisture within the aggregate. Because of the visibility of steam during production, especially in the colder months, it is sometimes confused with volatile emissions.
Asphalt plant odors are not harmful. Sometimes odors from the heated materials may also emanate from an asphalt plant. These odors pose no danger to either plant personnel or to the communities in which a plant operates.