Edmonds School Board OKs crumb rubber turf for Woodway field project


The Edmonds School District Board approved tire crumb rubber turf fields as part of the planned athletic complex project at the former Woodway High School in Edmonds.

The vote, during Tuesday’s Board of Directors meeting, was 4-1 in favor of crumb rubber with Board Member April Nowak the lone dissenter. Board President Diana White and Board Members Gary Noble, Kory DeMun and Ann McMurray voted in favor of the crumb rubber fields.

Many students, parents and community members urged the Board to delay the vote, consider alternatives to the crumb rubber infill and retain the grass fields at the site. Some of those who spoke to the Board during the public comment period were part of a group of about 50 people protesting against the crumb rubber fields. The group lined both sides of the entrance to the District’s Educational Service Center, where Tuesday’s Board meeting was held.

A resolution to use Nike grind, ground-up sneakers from the company’s shoe recycling program, failed 4-1 with Nowak the only Board Member in favor. A third alternative in which the crumb rubber was encapsulated did not draw any support from the Board.

Earlier in the meeting, Nowak proposed that the Board wait six months to make a decision on the artificial turf fields. Nowak wanted to use the time to further study, not only the safety issues associated with crumb rubber, but also to address traffic concerns and community engagement on the project. Nowak said that new information is coming out crumb rubber and that installing the new fields was not an issue that the Board needed to rush. Nowak’s motion did not pass with DeMun the only other Board Member to support it and White, Noble and McMurray opposed to the delay.

We’ll have more details in our full story on Wednesday.

— By David Pan

5 Replies to “Edmonds School Board OKs crumb rubber turf for Woodway field project”

  1. Thanks for reporting on this important issue. There are just not enough existing and definitive studies, and until we know more, I believe it is safer to err on the side of caution. While I understand that crumb rubber gives us something to do with all the used tires, shiny new ideas are not always safe. Remember how the public once thought cigarette smoking and asbestos were harmless? Is it EVER a good idea to have children playing on a surface KNOWN to contain carcinogenic substances? Even with “other people” are doing it?


  2. After attending the school board meeting last night, i have more concerns than those which led me to attend . I saw a board which is either tired of talking about play ground surfaces, or wants crumb rubber for some specific reason.

    Although the “demonstrators” (40 adults and 10 children), were verbal, studied and prepared, nothing could entice the board to delay their decision because it was already decided! They sign the contract on May 25, and begin construction May 27, 2015. Does that speak to an open discussion?

    The board’s concern regarding available grant monies was discussed. April Nowak suggested a six month hold on the vote to secure the grant monies for a later date, and see if more information regarding artificial turfs is available. It did not pass.

    I am the grandmother of a young, teenage woman, who likes many types of athletics. I do not live in Edmonds, but have always respected Edmonds school district 15 for sensible, forward-thinking endeavors. I am sickened because, if the superintendent, whom all board members “respect” for his research into this project, is wrong, and i project he will be, what then? Yes, dr. Blossoit, what if you’re wrong? Expense for laying-in and removal , litigation and remorse are all acceptable responses, but not good enough.

    Our notice of UW’s (12) crumb rubber soccer play fields, and their possible contribution to goalies lymphoma (women’s soccer) should at least lead to caution. There will be studies from many institutions using crumb rubber, in the future, why not wait. The results from the project, supports six months to a year of caution.

    The fields, if not perfect, do still supply athletic availability, as well as educational opportunity, and nature observation.

    Please Edmonds, let your school board know there is no rush to sign a contract for field “improvement” on Memorial Day. For it could be a terrible memorial in the future.

    A cautious grandmother,
    R. Johnni Whitby……Seattle


  3. The Connecticut Dept. of Public Health and Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health recently issued these statements validating that all the independent, science-based studies are clear — there is no elevated health risk from synthetic turf or crumb rubber.

    Massachusetts, Bureau of Environmental Health: https://files.ctctcdn.com/cba439d5301/d890e0de-07be-4d76-a578-521d7a6dfec7.pdf

    Connecticut Department of Health Circular Letter to Local Health Departments and Districts: https://files.ctctcdn.com/cba439d5301/bd43b99a-24b0-4b31-9e79-b56202d77f93.pdf

    List of Studies (1998-2014): https://files.ctctcdn.com/cba439d5301/f7499224-db2e-43e3-b82a-3da2d8113e07.pdf


  4. After seeing all the controversy of this product across the country, I say WHY the RUSH?…….That part seems odd to me. The hurry up in regards to a product that is known to have any of a number of carcinogenic chemicals in it and something to be TESTED on children and on our environment. A crum rubber institute…..Somehow seems odd to me, particularly in regards to how much non regulation there is with so many things now. I see birds and fish eating this also…….It’s just the right size and not like they know about carcinogenic chemicals in things they eat…….hard to believe it would not be harmful for a little bird to eat this stuff…….

    also, I believe it takes 20 to 30 years for the affects of asbestos contact to show up with humans and it is also a fact that our government kept a lid on the poisonous affects of coming into contact with asbestos. The United States is still the only country in the world that has not banned it, even after all the cancer cases.

    Sooooooooooooooooo, why not use what common sense tells us.


  5. Beware! the Synthetic Turf Council sent out the following email to members including Sydney Stahlbaum who is Director of Sales Support at AstroTurf. The STC members are good little robots who want to sell their product, they don’t care about health risks, they care about money.

    To All STC Members

    To fight back as an industry against these irresponsible and uninformed media attacks on the safety of synthetic turf and crumb rubber, which affects the entire industry, please copy, paste, and post the following sentence with the links as a comment to any news stories that aren’t based on the science, or send it to those who have concerns or questions. Assign someone in your company to do this. Ask them to contact STC Hq. to learn how they can help in the social media space. Cheers, Rick

    “The Connecticut Dept. of Public Health and Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health recently issued these statements validating that all the independent, science-based studies are clear — there is no elevated health risk from synthetic turf or crumb rubber.”

    Massachusetts, Bureau of Environmental Health
    Connecticut Department of Health Circular Letter to Local Health Departments and Districts
    List of Studies (1998-2014)

    Rick Doyle, President

    Synthetic Turf Council

    [email protected]

    P: (678) 385-6720
    F: (678) 385-6501

    400 Galleria Parkway, Suite 1500
    Atlanta, GA 30339-5953


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