Committee on Children
JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF RECYCLED TIRE RUBBER AT MUNICIPAL AND PUBLIC SCHOOL PLAYGROUNDS.
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Introduced by Committee on Children
Rep. James M. Albis 99th Dist., Rep. John F. Hennessy 127th Dist., Rep. Josh Elliott 88th Dist.
REASONS FOR BILL:
To reduce children's exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
Raul Pino, Commissioner, Department of Public Health:
The DPH takes a neutral position on this bill. The Department has been closely tracking the research associated with crumb rubber use on artificial turf fields. They Department has not evaluated the oral exposure pathway but notes California and Rutgers University-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School's research.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Joyce Acebo-Raguskus, Coalition For A Safe & Healthy CT:
We must exercise the use of the Precautionary Principle, to test all materials for health risk factors before implementation. We are exposing the most vulnerable population…our children.
Nancy Alderman, Environment and Human Health, Inc.:
This material was never tested by government or any other designated agency before it was put on the market to be sold as surfacing material for playgrounds. Now that we know what is in this product we must ban it from being placed in our smallest children's playgrounds. Children should not be playing on carcinogens in their playgrounds.
Elizabeth C Beisel, Connecticut Families Against Chemical Trespass:
The composition of the rubber often contains numerous chemicals of concern and we should not be exposing our children to these chemicals without careful, independent studies to verify safety.
We just need the political will to make a decision that is best for the health children.
Linda Bowers, Middletown Environmental Collective Impact Network:
We have extensively researched the topic of recycled tires being used for artificial infill and playground mulch. We agree with the research conclusions that it is extremely dangerous for children to be exposed to the carcinogens and carbon black that this material contains.
David Brown Sc.D., Public Health Toxicologist, Enviroment and Human Health, Inc.:
The process of making crumb rubber reverses the binding releasing the toxins. The product is hazardous.
Louis W. Burch, Citizens Campaign for Environment:
Based on the available science, CCE believes that crumb rubber made from recycled car and truck tires poses an undue risk to the health of small children, and should be avoided wherever possible.
Connecticut Council on Occupational Safety and Health:
We believe that it is better to err on the side of caution and not use toxic and carcinogenic substances in children's playgrounds. Children should be free to play in dirt and grass and other organic, non-toxic substances, ones that don't require personal, protective equipment.
Willian Cooke,Grassroots Environmental Education:
We seek to provide decision makers with the latest academic peer-reviewed and published science linking common environmental toxins with risks to human health. The chemicals used in rubber tires were never intended for use in places where children play.
Bill Duesing, Organic Advocate, Northeast Organic Farming Association Of Connecticut:
It should be easy to ban the use of a material that would otherwise be hazardous waste as a covering for children's play areas. Why would we want to subject our children's rapidly-developing bodies to this recycled tire mulch which smells bad and really stinks when heated up by the sun?
Athletes playing on turf fields have been shown to have more abrasions or “turf burns,” which in turn can harbor infection. On hot days, surface temperatures of synthetic turf can get up to 60 degrees higher than natural grass and have been measured as high as 160 degrees.
Dr. Sarah Evans, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai:
Children are uniquely vulnerable to harmful exposures from recycled rubber surfaces. Public playgrounds are typically utilized by children age 6 months to 12 years, a population exquisitely vulnerable to the health effects of toxic environmental exposures.
John Hall, the Common Council Of Middletown:
I have learned about what has driven the use of crumb rubber derived from used tires as well as the variety of toxic and cancer-producing chemicals that come with rubber and used tires. The Common Council of Middletown quickly reached the conclusion that crumb rubber in-fill posed unacceptable health risks to children.
Zachary Jazlowiecki, Jazlowiecki&Jazlowiecki Law Firm:
To allow and encourage children, the most susceptible group, to be exposed to these dangers on a daily basis is beyond reprehensible. There are many safer low-cost alternatives to crumb rubber, including, but not limited to: silica sand, cork composite, coconut husk.
It is madness to say that nothing has been proven yet, so we will continue to allow its use. I urge you to use the precautionary principle and vote for the protection of our children, and against the use of toxic crumb rubber in municipal and public school playgrounds.
I live in Middletown and we, as a city, voted to not use bonding dollars to build new artificial turf fields because of the health hazards from crumb rubber. It has been linked to many health issues and we should not be exposing our children by using it on playgrounds.
Martin Mador, Legislative Co-chair, Connecticut Chapter of the Sierra Club:
The medical research is not yet definitive. But we know there is a risk. Why would you be willing to take the risk? We know that organically treated fields work, after a break-in period.
Just because our financial accounting system doesn't recognize the harm that will be caused if tires are recycled into playgrounds, is no excuse to even propose such activity.
Kathryn P. Jackman-Murphy:
I am not confident that the use of crumb rubber is safe and the long-term effects are not known. No child should suffer from any of these effects, especially since safer alternatives are known such as wood mulch or grass.
There is a principle, called the Precautionary Principle, that basically says that once you are aware that something, like crumb rubber or pesticides, can potentially cause harm you should take action to protect from that harm.
Roberta Silbert, Water Partnership:
Request two amendments; to address the removal of crumb rubber that currently exist on playgrounds. The other amendment would address the wording and should address All public playgrounds in Connecticut, not just schools.
Patricia Taylor, Environment and Human Health, Inc.:
Past studies have shown us that rubber playground mulch carries many carcinogens, heavy metals and irritants. Any one of these chemicals or heavy metals should be enough to prevent us from allowing children to play on this product.
Dr. Mary-Jane Williams, Connecticut Nurses Association:
We know our children are uniquely vulnerable to toxic exposures due to their immature organs and developing brains and bodies, which make it more challenging for them to detoxify or eliminate certain toxins.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Fred Balsamo, Connecticut Association of Athletic Directors, Inc.:
Recycled tires have been used in the construction of synthetic tracks and athletic fields for many years. It is also used in the development of some grass fields to prevent compaction. This is the same recycled underlayment for household carpet, paints and joint compound, flowerpots and baseboard kick plate you find in your kitchen.
Steve Bigelow, Recycled Rubber Council:
We strongly believe that, when considered in aggregate, the existing body of research presents a clear scientific case that playing on rubber mulch playgrounds does not pose an increased health risk for our children.
Zachary McKeown, Connecticut Conference of Municipalities:
We oppose this legislation since playgrounds built with crumb rubber provide a soft surface that is safer for children to play on than the alternative materials.
Paul Roche, Connecticut Recreation &Parks Association
Solid rubber surfacing is an important aspect of inclusive playground structures. It helps to provide safe access to playground for children with disabilities, more specifically wheelchair access.
Reported by: Joyce Turner, Assistant Clerk
Alessandra Burgett, Clerk