HOW THEY’RE PAVING THE WAY TO SAFER SEALCOAT
By Jeff Winke
ASMA-USA is no stranger to the sealcoat industry. After all, the original organization (ASMA) was created in 1992 and comprised of West Coast companies that manufactured strictly asphalt emulsion sealcoat. ASMA’s specs were adopted by Cal-Trans, which would be a huge achievement even today. Since most of the West Coast primarily used asphalt emulsions, the focus was on consistent, agreed-upon specs. However, as West Coast manufacturers (like Pitch Black®) expanded to the Mid-West and East Coast, they were astonished at the amount of misinformation they encountered about asphalt emulsion sealcoat. As new research about the hazardous effects of PAHs in sealcoat surfaced from major government organizations (i.e. EPA, USGS, Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, state representatives, city environmental departments), bans on PAHs and certain sealcoats also emerged. It was time to bring ASMA-USA back.
The New ASMA-USA Seal of Approval
ASMA-USA resurfaced in 2019 and expanded to include manufacturers, contractors, vendors, associations and government representatives from all over the U.S. They’re already getting international inquires for info and membership. In order to join, ASMA-USA requires members meet common government PAH regulations (<1000 ppm) as defined by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in the latest edition of 8270. Studies have shown high levels of PAHs may cause cancer, birth defects, health complications and environmental contamination. Only after passing PAH testing are manufacturing members able to use the ASMA-USA Seal of Approval. Members that fail to meet this requirement will not be allowed to join, be removed, and prohibited from using the official ASMA-USA Seal of Approval.
ASMA-USA’s New 2023 Asphalt Emulsion Sealcoat Field Guide is FREE
ASMA-USA wants ALL of its members to have the info they need to correct industry misinformation and properly educate customers on what constitutes a safe sealcoat. “Asphalt emulsion sealcoats that meet PAH testing speak for themselves,” says Robert Archie, President of ASMA-USA. “We’re working 24/7 to get the word out on raising sealcoat expectations. Your contracting company, homeowners association, school district, city, etc. shouldn’t have to worry about being liable in the future for the long-term effects of sealcoats with high PAHs. Are we promoting manufacturers and contractors that use safe sealcoat? Absolutely. Does that make us popular with the good ‘ole boys in the industry? Nope, and we don’t care. We’ll be at the next state legislature hearing in your neighborhood, emailing city officials, and answering every question that comes our way about sealcoat. We believe in our mission to promote the use of asphalt emulsion sealcoats for the preservation and protection of asphalt surfaces, with a special emphasis on safeguarding human and environmental health. We’ll support each other even as asphalt emulsion sealcoat competitors because this mission is bigger than any of our individual companies.”
The new field guide is a game changer. They’ve compiled testimonials, research, specs, best practices, and links to all ASMA-USA members and resources. Get it for FREE just by joining the ASMA-USA mailing list. See the link at the end of this article to download your Field Guide.
How to Join ASMA-USA
Membership fees are the most affordable in the industry at $250/yr. “We wanted to keep it low. ASMA-USA is a non-profit. Fees are used to pay for marketing costs and industry events,” says Jerome Jacobs, Secretary of ASMA-USA. “We’re rolling out so many new features on the site including new tools and resources. There couldn’t be a better time to join.” Go to https://www.asma-usa.org to join, view and be listed on the latest membership directory.
“Switching from coal tar to asphalt emulsion sealer was a very easy decision for our company. For years we have been aware of the harmful effects of coal tar. Working with emulsion has given us the peace of mind knowing that our employees no longer have to be susceptible to the negative effects. It is an easy product to use and have been very happy with the end results after completing each job. Our employees have been very happy using the new product. One of the most consistent positive comments I heard throughout the season, was not having to deal with the sealer burn. Coal tar was very harmful on the skin and not easy to get off. We no longer hear from our customers questioning how long that horrible smell will last. Using an eco-friendly sealer has greatly benefited our sales. As our society becomes more aware of creating change for a healthier work environment as well as protecting our water ways and natural resources, offering a product that is guaranteed safe becomes our top sales pitch. Educating our customers is very important to us. Being able to offer a high quality product, at an affordable price that is safe, has definitely helped our company stand out among the rest.” – Jake Bonotto, Owner | Pride Sealcoating LLC (Lansing, MI)
“Mix-Tek has sustained over 55% increase in Pitch Black® sales over the span of the past three years. By putting our clients first and focusing on putting out the most consistent, high quality AE (asphalt emulsion sealcoat) on the market we have become a market leader in WI and MN.” – John Schneider, Owner | Mix-Tek, Director of Midwest/ASMA-USA
“The asphalt industry has created the notion that we are confined to what the “higher ups” provide us. I’m here to tell you, that will no longer happen. Dark Force Sealcoat Distributing is knocking down the old foundation and building back even stronger. Our aim is to provide products that not only meet your expectations, but go far beyond. Durability, strength, aesthetics and ease of use all while being the safest material on the market…that’s what we produce, Pitch Black. If that isn’t enough, wait until you experience the customer service our team provides. I have been distraught about the loss in customer care over the years. I guarantee there is no company that puts in the effort our team will to ensure you are covered. We are 24/7- 365, simply put…we are truly here for you, the customer. Join us in the effort to become the greatest and see what it’s like in the new age of asphalt, the future of our industry.” – Rich Williams | Owner of Dark Force Sealcoat Distributing, Vice President | ASMA-USA
“I appreciate the opportunity to proactively work with industry representatives at an important intersection of the marketplace, the environment, and government regulations.” – Tom Ennis, PE, City of Austin Sustainability Officer
Sneak Peak at 2023
ASMA-USA hit the road running with their free all-you can eat “Meat & Greet” at the Brazilian Steakhouse during the NPE Show in January. Between that, the new Field Guide, new tools and resources, ASMA-USA is poised to have their strongest year yet. As for what else ASMA-USA has next up their sleeve for the new season, they’ll tell you their lips are “sealed”.
ABOUT THE WRITERS: Nicole Larsen has contributed cover articles on behalf of U.S. Seal International, Inc. (Pitch Black®) since 2013. She is also Director of Marketing for U.S. Seal International and founder of marketing agency, Busy Ave, Inc. Research provided by Tom Ennis (ASMA-USA Director of DOT, Specifications & Governmental/ Regulatory Affairs) and owner of Coal Tar Free America (https://coaltarfreeusa.com/).
ABOUT ASMA-USA: Originally founded in 1992, ASMA-USA seeks to advance asphalt emulsion-based sealcoating for pavement preservation through the full utilization of advancements in materials, equipment, while keeping the impact on the human and environment to an absolute minimum. Learn more at https://www.asma-usa.org