Letter to the editor: Crumb rubber an issue nationally


The use and safety of crumb rubber is an emerging national issue. Crumb rubber is made from tires, and tires contain many known carcinogens.

While we can all agree that further research needs to be done, it is important to note a new development — that at a May 19, 2015 meeting of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, the use of crumb rubber and a link to the growing list of young soccer athletes who have reported developing various forms of cancer was reviewed with Chairman Kaye of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In this meeting, he publicly stated that the Consumer Product Safety Commission no longer stands behind its 2008 statement that crumb rubber is safe – or “OK to install/okay to play on.” You can click on the link to see his public statement.

Around the country other citizens are fighting similar battles and as of Friday, June 5, a judge in Chicago has taken note and has granted a temporary restraining order against the use of crumb rubber turf in a Newton Park site.

Synthetic turf is a multi-billion dollar industry, much like the tobacco industry with funds to lobby, pay for public relations, and attorneys to try and convince those in public office that this product is “safe”– including through biased organizations such as The Synthetic Turf Council. In this case, rather than adults making the choice to purchase products such as tobacco, our children (who depend on adults to protect and look out for their best interest) are being told it is “healthy” and are encouraged to play on these fields. Meanwhile they are being exposed to carcinogens, heavy metals and hormone disrupting chemicals through ingesting and inhaling tire crumbs over many years of play on these fields in a way that was never intended.

When it comes to our children’s health the precautionary principle stating “when an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established,” should always be followed and health over profit should always be our priority! Carcinogens and children don’t mix — keep our play and athletic fields safe, non-toxic and crumb rubber free for the sake of our nations youngest citizens and communities as well as our pets, natural resources, water and wildlife.

Jen Carrigan

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