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Parents, Researchers, Health Professionals, and Advocates Urge Passage of Bill to Ban Recycled Tire Rubber Turf in Children’s Playgrounds

Physicians, researchers, parents and advocates are urging the Connecticut General Assembly to pass a bill that bans the use of recycled tire rubber on municipal and school playgrounds. Citing concerns about exposure to numerous toxic chemicals found in recycled tire rubber, the group states this bill is narrowly tailored to affect only those playgrounds where the youngest children play and will reduce children’s exposure to highly toxic chemicals.

“Pediatricians, epidemiologists and laboratory scientists at the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine Children’s Environmental Health Center conducted a thorough review of the risks and benefits of these surfaces and found significant gaps in the evidence supporting the safety of recycled tire rubber. Young children are uniquely vulnerable to harmful exposures from the toxic chemicals found in recycled tire rubber and therefore, we recommend that these products never be used as surfaces where young children play,” stated Dr. Sarah Evans, PhD, MPH, research scientist at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine Children’s Environmental Health Center.

“Young children sit, crawl, dig, eat and drink on playgrounds. There is ample evidence that we should protect our youngest and most vulnerable population from exposure to these proven carcinogens. The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has recommended that recycled tire rubber never be uses as surfaces where children play,” stated Children’s Committee House Chair Diana Urban (D-Stonington).

“As a parent of two young children and a nurse, I am extremely concerned about children’s exposure to toxic chemicals from recycled tire rubber. Recycled tire rubber contains hundreds of toxic chemicals including many linked to cancers like leukemia and lymphoma and others that are toxic to the brain and nervous system. Banning the use of this material where young children play is common-sense, particularly when safer alternatives exist,” stated Hacah Boros, RN, MSN, Environmental Health Coordinator at CT Nurses’ Association.

“CCE applauds the Children’s committee for passing this important legislation to protect our children where they learn and play, and we call on the Planning & Development committee to follow suit,” said Louis Burch, spokesperson for Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “Rubber mulch is made from scrap tires, which are loaded with hazardous materials, including heavy metals and known carcinogens. HB 6998 is a common sense way to protect our smallest and most vulnerable members of our community from these hazardous materials, which disproportionately affect their health. States like Connecticut need to lead the rest of the nation, by setting a higher, precautionary standard for the use of materials which contain toxics around our children. Today, we are calling on the members of Planning and Development to take decisive action to move our state away from using toxic rubber mulch on public playgrounds. It’s good for our children’s health and it’s the right thing to do!”

“There is simply no reason to use recycled tire rubber mulch on children’s playgrounds given the gaps in research assuring its safety and the risks of exposure to children. We applaud the Children’s Committee for raising this important bill and we urge the members of the Planning and Development Committee to vote favorably to protect the health of our most vulnerable residents,” stated Anne Hulick, RN, MS, JD, Coordinator for the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut.