Committee on Children

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5139

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF RECYCLED TIRE RUBBER AT MUNICIPAL AND PUBLIC SCHOOL PLAYGROUNDS.

Vote Date:

2/25/2016

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

2/16/2016

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Committee on Children

REASONS FOR BILL:

To protect Connecticut's children from exposure to carcinogens and other potentially harmful chemicals contained in crumb rubber.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Commissioner Raul Pino, Department of Public Health: submitted testimony that showed tests had been conducted to determine whether inhaling chemicals from crumb rubber would be harmful to children. These tests indicated that the chemicals coming from crumb rubber would not raise any health risks in children.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Joyce Acebo-Raguskus, Coalition for a Safe & Healthy Connecticut: stated that it was unsafe to expose children to dangerous chemicals without all of the necessary information and mentioned several health repercussions.

Nancy Alderman, Environment and Human Health, Inc.: testified about various studies conducted which determined that children are being exposed to several carcinogens when playing on crumb rubber, “Rubber tire mulch used in children's playgrounds as surfacing material has been shown to contain 12 carcinogens and 20 irritants”.

Alex Bergstein, Greening our Children: stated that the ground up rubber came from used tires, which are classified as “industrial waste”. She mentioned wood fibers as a healthy alternative for public school playgrounds.

David R. Brown, Sc.D., Westport CT: mentioned that children who play in or on crumb rubber are exposed to dangerous carcinogens and are more likely to develop cancer than children not exposed to crumb rubber.

Louis Burch, Citizens Campaign for the Environment: testified that children who spend time on crumb rubber fields are vulnerable to carcinogens and other chemicals which, “ have been linked to a wide range of potential health impacts, including eye and skin irritation, respiratory problems, and as many as three different forms of cancer.” Mr. Burch also proposed that crumb rubber be banned from private schools.

Frank Conroy, Hamden CT: stated that crumb turf contains Carbon Black, a known carcinogen since 2003. He stated that Carbon Black has been known to cause various types of cancer and other health problems.

Susan Eastwood, the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut: stated that the turf, when heated by the sun, becomes upwards of 160 Degrees and could lead to children suffering from dehydration, heat stroke and several other effects.

Sarah Evans, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai: stated that several agencies have called for further studies to be done on the effects of crumb rubber, “the United States Environmental Protection Agency announced the launch of an investigation into the safety of crumb rubber in partnership with the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”

Samantha Gray: said that crumb rubber should no longer be installed, and that schools who currently have crumb rubber fields should change to natural grass or another healthy alternative in a timely fashion.

Lauren Gunningsmith: supports the ban and recommends removing crumb rubber from all municipal and public school playgrounds.

Anne Hulick, CT Clean Water Action: stated that more tests need to be conducted on the crumb rubber and its potential health problems for Connecticut's youth. She stated that the lack of government studies is reason enough to halt all crumb rubber installation immediately.

Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr., 12th District: stated that Connecticut should err on the side of caution. He mentioned that crumb rubber contains 96 chemicals, several of which are toxic or carcinogenic and stated, “Nearly half of these chemical ingredients have never been subject to any form of government analysis or formal review of any kind, raising further questions about the public health impacts of human exposure.”

Susan Kulis, Hamden CT: provided information about the EPA discrediting previous studies which showed that crumb rubber was not harmful to children, and stated that further studies needed to be done.

Martin Mador, Connecticut Chapter of the Sierra Club: stated that installing crumb rubber turf, while convenient and more cost effective, is harmful to children, a risk that should not be taken.

Margaret Miner, Rivers Alliance of Connecticut: stated that the turf is harmful to the environment and individuals. She mentioned that turf disperses in storm-water runoff, which is a leading cause of water contamination in the state. She also mentioned that playing on a crumb rubber surface can cause abrasions, skin infections and concussions from hard falls.

Stacy Prince, Westport CT: submitted testimony about her daughter's struggle with cancer and urges the state to prevent children from going through similar experiences.

Jerry Silbert, the Watershed Partnership, Inc.: stated that crumb rubber possesses 96 different chemicals, 40% of which have undergone little to no toxicity testing.

Roberta Silbert, MPH, The Watershed Partnership, Inc.: testified that existing crumb rubber from Connecticut schools should also be included. She stated that a local school refuses to remove crumb rubber, even though parents have petitioned it and offered to raise the money for its removal.

Elizabeth Sledge, Hamden CT: mentioned the injuries sustained by the U.S. women's national team due to crumb rubber turf, and stated that natural grass, although more costly to maintain, is a far safer alternative.

Patricia Taylor, Milford CT: testified that children are being put at risk by playing in these chemicals, and the state should take action to protect them.

Ellen Weininger, Grassroots Environmental Education: testified that, “Children are uniquely vulnerable to toxic exposures due to their immature organs and developing bodies which make it more challenging for them to detoxify or eliminate certain toxins. Due to their small size, they receive proportionally greater doses of chemical contaminants found in water, air and food.”

Mary Jane Williams, Connecticut Nurses' Association: stated that Connecticut needed to be proactive in removing potentially harmful crumb rubber risking health concerns towards children.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Fred Balsamo, Connecticut Association of Athletic Directors: stated the banning of crumb rubber from municipal and public school playgrounds, is a reaction to propaganda rather than fact. He mentioned that crumb rubber has been used for many years, and is found in many everyday items, “This is the same recycled rubber that performs in everyday use for things like the production of soles for shoes and sneakers, underlayment for household carpet, flowerpots and the baseboard kick plate you find in your kitchen. There is no factual proof that using crumb rubber has or does cause cancer.”

Ann M. Catino, Halloran & Sage LLP: stated that crumb rubber is safe for children. She mentioned studies which showed that crumb rubber does not cause elevated health risks.

Connecticut Conference of Municipalities: submitted testimony that the state should hold off on a ruling until the information from an EPA study on crumb rubber turf that is due by the end of 2016 becomes available.

Reported by: Justin Olson, Assistant Clerk

Alessandra Burgett, Clerk

Date: 3/4/2016