Common Myths About Asphalt
Myth: The production of asphalt causes cancer.
There is no scientific evidence that the very low levels of emissions from an asphalt facility pose any health risks to humans.
Myth: Asphalt plants are dirty and bad for the environment.
The asphalt industry works hard to be a good citizen. It has spent millions of dollars to develop the most advanced technology to keep the environment in their communities clean. Asphalt plants have adopted stringent emission standards that exceed those of the EPA. Emission control systems also trap and remove fine sand and dust particles. As a result, the EPA has deleted asphalt plants from its list of major sources of hazardous air pollutants.
Myth: Asphalt pavement doesn’t last a long time.
On the contrary, well-designed, well-built asphalt pavements last many years. They can be maintained with only periodic replacement of the surface layer. And with the newer heavy-duty surface pavements, it is possible for overlays to last more than 15 to 20 years. That’s why it’s called the “perpetual pavement.”
Case in point: The asphalt heavily traveled New Jersey Turnpike was built in 1951, but has never had a failure in the pavement structure. The chief engineer expects it to last another 50 years.
Myth: Asphalt is a costly way to pave roads.
Actually, asphalt is the most cost-effective way to build and pave roads, both in the actual material costs and the cost of traffic delays. Numerous studies have proven the initial cost of asphalt pavement is usually less than concrete. And when major thoroughfares are closed for weeks of repairs or construction, businesses and individuals stand to lose a lot of money – potentially millions of dollars. With asphalt paving, construction and rehabilitation can be performed at night so roads are open the next morning, saving time and money. And because asphalt can be recycled into new roads, it saves taxpayers more than $300 million a year.