NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Senator Richard Blumenthal is urging the appropriation leaders in Congress that they fund crumb rubber research. The recycled ground-up tires are used in artificial turf, athletic fields, and for gardening. The study would determine whether exposure to crumb rubber surfaces made from scrap tires pose a health risk.
President Obama proposed a million-dollar budget for an investigation into the safety of it.
“There is now very concerning evidence that crumb rubber field may pose serious health hazards to children and other who use them. A million dollars is a good beginning. At least it begins the process of studying. A million dollars may be insufficient and may need to be supplemented, but at least it’s a beginning toward an objective independent assessment which has never been done,” said Blumenthal.
Environmentalists said they want communities throughout the state to stop using crumb rubber until there’s more research.
“One of the reasons why we are so concerned about the use of these materials on children’s playgrounds is because tires are actually considered by federal law to be hazardous waste but once they are shred up and they are turned into a consumer commodity they no longer meet the definition of a tire,” said Lou Burch with the Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
Mother of three, Anna Cunningham brings her kids to play at this crumb rubber playground often. She says it’s a concern.
“I have little ones and they put everything into their mouths. There’s not a time we come here my son doesn’t put at least one piece in his mouth,” said Cunningham.
“There is rubber gardening mulch that’s made out of the same exact kind of materials that’s widely available at most of the hardware stores but we also see a lot of these kinds of products being used for different type of walkways, different kinds of playscapes throughout the community,” said Burch.
“I think it is something that definitely needs to be looked into and legitimately looked into,” said Cunningham.
“Everybody affected by these kinds of recycled crumb rubber fields deserves to know. Whether it’s people who drink water and it may contaminated by the recycled field, people who use it in their gardens, people who’s children play on it. We need to know and the results are important,” said Blumenthal.