The Edmonds School District, via its attorney, has put the City of Edmonds on notice that it will challenge any ban on crumb rubber playfields that applies to district properties.
The Edmonds City Council is considering such a ban after local parents and community members raised concerns earlier this year related to the recycled tire infill, citing known carcinogens in the material and the lack of research on the long-term health and environmental impacts. State Senator Maralyn Chase, an Edmonds resident with a grandson in the Edmonds School District, has said she will introduce a bill in the state Legislature in 2016 calling for a statewide ban.
In a strongly-worded letter sent Nov. 6 to the the Edmonds City Council and Mayor Dave Earling, District attorney Kristine R. Wilson of Perkins Coie said that the city has no power to regulate material used in district playfields. “The District has a duty to determine what is in the best interest of the kids in its educational programming and to provide for the health and safety of its students in their use of District property and facilities,” Wilson wrote.
“In using crumb rubber turf materials, the District is applying industry standards for school athletic fields,” the letter said, adding that artificial turf fields “increase playability, reducing the cancellation of class time, games and practices and decreasing the time needed to restorer or drain a field after rainfall.”
The school district will “challenge the City’s application of policies that impede District educational programming,” the letter said and “will take action to make the City a party to any legal claims arising from the District’s compliance with the City’s standards in lieu of abiding by industry standards for provision of safe school athletic fields.”
You can read the complete school district letter here.