Letter to the Editor: Supporting a vote against crumb rubber fields

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Dear Editor:

Below you will find the letter I have sent to our school board members. You may find it of interest. Our family is very concerned about the possibility of crumb rubber being used for the field project, and hope that before the school board votes this Tuesday, more research will be done, more Edmonds citizens will become aware, and alternate choices will be made.

Barbara Peterson

I am writing to you to express my concerns about the proposed and permitted artificial turf fields for the old Edmonds/Woodway campus. I read about the issue in My Edmonds News, and did see that the city council at least briefly considered possible health ramifications about using crumb rubber, but were apparently not concerned enough about the issue to do further research and studies before permitting the project. I feel that move was unfortunate, but the School Board still has the opportunity to make more healthful decisions; I certainly hope it will!

Crumb rubber has been shown to contain the following: acetone, aniline, arsenic, barium, benzene, benzothiazole, cadmium, chloroethane, chromium, cobalt, copper, halogenated flame retardants, isoprene, latex, lead, manganese, mercury, methyl ethyl ketone, methyl isobutyl ketone, naphthalene, nickel, nylon, phenol, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, styrene-butadiene, toluene, and trichloroethylene; many of these chemicals are known carcinogens others are simply toxic in and of themselves. And if that list itself is not worrisome enough, it has been shown that crumb rubber has nanotubes that some scientists believe act in the lungs the way asbestos particles do. NBC did a story covering what our own UW soccer coach, Amy Griffin, has been researching:
www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/how-safe-artificial-turf-your-child-plays-n220166
And here is an article about the nanotubes from the Canadian Turf and Grounds Maintenance Authority: www.turfandrec.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2986&Itemid=139
We recently spoke with Olympic Water and Sewer, and learned that they are currently drilling wells for drinking water near Woodway. To my knowledge, no comprehensive study has been done regarding the potential leaching of the above chemicals into our drinking water, and into Puget Sound ecosystems.

My family moved to Edmonds from Seattle 14 years ago because of the cleaner environment. And in a progressive action since our relocation, the City of Edmonds banned most plastic bags in an effort to help conserve that clean environment. If you go to the Edmonds City webpage, it is full of photos of a beautiful and pristine outdoor environment. I think it would be fair to say that Edmonds residents CARE about being healthy and making sure their environment is healthy for its residents and for its wildlife.

Principal Mike Prato of the Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien decided against crumb rubber for their field. Representative Frank Pallone, a Congressman from New Jersey, has written a letter to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry asking them to study the health issues in using crumb rubber.

Shouldn’t Edmonds take a global perspective, be a good steward of our environment, and stand on the front lines of forward-thinking communities who are dedicated to doing what it takes to keep our community healthy? I say YES, and I urge you to vote against the crumb rubber proposal at this Tuesday’s School Board meeting.

Sincerely,
Barbara Peterson

4 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you Barbara!
    I am amazed that Edmonds is even considering this chemically based product for our children to play on.
    One father commented that it is safer for his chil to play on than grass.
    This turf is NOT safe to play on! The chemical leaching into the environment will spell nothing but trouble for the city in the long run. Children have always played on grass.
    To make an exception for a select few, iwould be irresponsible of the city.
    I strongly encourage the city council to vote against installing this chemical into our environment.

  2. And I, as the father of a youth athlete, urge anyone with concerns about this issue to investigate the SCIENCE involved and not get caught up in the eco-emotionalism perpetrated by NBC News and the prevalent political culture in the Seattle area. I submit that those most vocally opposed to improving the sports fields at the Old Edmonds/Woodway High School site are more concerned about changes to their free access to large open grass fields than the equal access of ALL school district tax payer users. I think it’s important to remember that these properties below to all of us, not just those in the surrounding neighborhoods.

    http://www.epa.gov/nerl/features/tire_crumbs.html

    http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20150509/NEWS01/150509005

    https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/outdoors/synthetic_turf/crumb-rubber_infilled/fact_sheet.htm

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