Letter to the editor: Crumb rubber an issue nationally



The use and safety of crumb rubber is an emerging national issue. Crumb rubber is made from tires, and tires contain many known carcinogens.

While we can all agree that further research needs to be done, it is important to note a new development — that at a May 19, 2015 meeting of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, the use of crumb rubber and a link to the growing list of young soccer athletes who have reported developing various forms of cancer was reviewed with Chairman Kaye of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In this meeting, he publicly stated that the Consumer Product Safety Commission no longer stands behind its 2008 statement that crumb rubber is safe – or “OK to install/okay to play on.” You can click on the link to see his public statement.

Around the country other citizens are fighting similar battles and as of Friday, June 5, a judge in Chicago has taken note and has granted a temporary restraining order against the use of crumb rubber turf in a Newton Park site.

Synthetic turf is a multi-billion dollar industry, much like the tobacco industry with funds to lobby, pay for public relations, and attorneys to try and convince those in public office that this product is “safe”– including through biased organizations such as The Synthetic Turf Council. In this case, rather than adults making the choice to purchase products such as tobacco, our children (who depend on adults to protect and look out for their best interest) are being told it is “healthy” and are encouraged to play on these fields. Meanwhile they are being exposed to carcinogens, heavy metals and hormone disrupting chemicals through ingesting and inhaling tire crumbs over many years of play on these fields in a way that was never intended.

When it comes to our children’s health the precautionary principle stating “when an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established,” should always be followed and health over profit should always be our priority! Carcinogens and children don’t mix — keep our play and athletic fields safe, non-toxic and crumb rubber free for the sake of our nations youngest citizens and communities as well as our pets, natural resources, water and wildlife.

Jen Carrigan

12 Replies to “Letter to the editor: Crumb rubber an issue nationally”

  1. A little research on the internet and one can see that there are already class action lawsuits resulting from the use of this product and to stop the use.

    Perhaps someone in our government could step forward and make a statement of why this product would ever be brought into our city, for anything, period.

    Once again, one of the responsibilities of government is to protect the health and welfare of all of its citizens.

    Would someone in our government please step forward and explain why this has been allowed to slip through the cracks, LITERALLY.

    The citizens should expect a response on this and not the usual silent treatment from our government.


  2. In the Edmonds School Board meeting last month, after many parents, children, and citizens spoke asking the Board to make a different choice, or even to just WAIT to make a choice until the results of more research are in, the Board listened politely, and then moved to do just what they had intended to do all along; they voted to use crumb rubber turf. They pointed to old, limited, and inconclusive studies to show that there would be no harm to children or the community at large. They minimized growing awareness of blood cancers in college age soccer players. They believed that none of the carcinogenic ingredients, nor the heavy metals, nor the carbon black nanotubes could get into our children, our adults who breathe the air and drink the water in Edmonds, nor our ecosystem. They are selling Phase 1 for the fields as being minimally intrusive to the surrounding neighborhoods stating that there will be no lighting or PA system (though the infrastructure for those items is included in Phase 1, and planned for a subsequent phase). Edmonds citizens need to wake up and get active. Google “crumb rubber.” Check out this website: https://www.synturf.org/ehhibrief.html See that the EPA, NIH, NIEHS, CDC, NTP, ATSDR, and the FDA are all working TOGETHER to look at the health effects of crumb rubber. With all of that research, could anyone honestly believe they know it is safe? Verdant, the granting agency, has been very clear that they have more money to give, and would do so for a different solution if anyone asked for it, but the Board has no interest. They are elected officials! People….speak up! Now is the time…the rubber hasn’t been installed yet.


  3. Perhaps for the sake of good journalism and investigation, this publisher could ask someone in our government and school board for a responce to this and maybe someone needs to look into the trail of supply of this substance to our school district……Who initiated this in the first place? in my opinion, is an important question and why the hurry? without further current information………and now that we have some of the information that MORE studies are needed……why the rush?

    Something doesnt feel right to me with this picture


    1. We have written numerous stories on this issue chronicling the history of the project. Click on the “news” and then “schools” category on the top menu bar and you should be able to get a clear picture of the positions and reasoning of the school board, the city, Verdant and project opponents.


      1. I have been following this and I do not see ANY “clear picture”……and quite frankly, the more research done, the more incredible the picture in my opinion gets…..and the questions of why any push for this when there are safe alternatives…….particularly natural grass which has been vetted forever


  4. I agree, something doesn’t feel right about this picture. There is a power we all have, that is currently being under-used; we are voters. Every school board position is an ELECTED position. We, the public, have the ability to retain them in their jobs….or not. If every voter who believes the Board is not behaving in our best interest were to write directly to them; if every Board member believed that this particular issue could be the end of their career there and not a stepping stone to something bigger, don’t you think they might reconsider? You can Google Edmonds School Board members…their email addresses are listed. Tell them what you think!


  5. Read what Barbara Peterson wrote above again. As citizens we need to be much more careful who we let keep their elected positions. Are they really representing the good of the group they were elected by or do they have their own interests in mind? This watchfulness on our part needs to start here with our City Council and School Board and go up to national elections.

    The question here is WHY is the School Board not willing to stay away from the crumb rubber fields? Wouldn’t the thing that is best for the CHILDREN be what is chosen? Again…why not GRASS? If there is any question about a crumb rubber field and there seem to be many safety questions, why take a chance with our PEOPLE?

    (Sorry for shouting the above four words. One or two may be ok but four is just lame writing on my part.)


  6. Not only is crumb rubber a very questionable product, these fields were the last green open space zoned as such in our city. I don’t consider fences, bleachers, and synthetic turf “open space” at all. Our community needs these nourishing spaces, and so does our wildlife. Please continue to question our city and school board about this, as well as Verdant, who is funding most of the project.


  7. The installation of this product must be stopped!
    The city council had enough information about the seriousness of crum rubber to have investigated before the vote.
    I agree, they had their minds already decided. Who is putting the pressure on to make this decision?
    The community needs to gather together to see what can be done to reverse this decision.
    I for one am furious over this.
    If there is going to be a meeting, I would like to be included.
    Fran Love. 509-554-2577


  8. Per my previous pot on this story last week:
    In full disclosure, my family home school’s our children and are as active at the Home School Resource Center (formally called Edmond Heights).

    I appreciate all of the support and recognition this effort is being given as this directly effects my children.

    In my IT background, I never make a change to a working system/environment unless required. Enhancement to a working environment is reviewed long before we consider a replacement of the working system.

    To me, someone has made a decision to approve a change from a MS Windows environment to a Linux environment without providing a true requirement to do so. Let alone demonstrate the due diligence it requires to justify platform change.
    What is the root cause of requiring field replacement?

    Again, I appreciate the concern, support and involvement of my fellow Edmonds citizens.

    But, we need to ask why we’re debating the solution vs. why do we need to be having this debate in the first place. What is wrong with the current grass fields, so much, that we need to discuss a replacement?

    The replacement is a matter of quality control.

    Thank you!


  9. Ed,

    The need to switch the grass field to an artificial surface comes from the fact that we live in the northwest where it is extremely difficult to maintain a natural playing surface through the late fall/winter/early spring months. With the rise in field demands from soccer, football, baseball, softball and now lacrosse , we need to be proactive in providing the opportunity for our children to continue to pursue these opportunities. The current grass fields are not maintained well (if at all) nor are they as safe to play on because of the lack of maintenance. The artificial surface will provide a safer surface that requires far less to maintain year round. The surface will be more static by default which will provide a safer surface year round.

    As a high school soccer coach that benefits from all our children being given more opportunity to play soccer, I am all for supporting new fields that will continue this growth. I appreciate Verdant stepping in to help encourage more children to become active. I especially appreciate that they are willing to help pay for their ideas! Far to often, we see people say something but aren’t willing to step up and help pay for things like this. They are and that is tremendous.

    I am not sure where I fall on the crumb rubber vs Nike fill. What I do know is that there is a significant cost difference between the two (Nike fill being the more expensive of the two). I understand money cannot be the end-all-be-all when it comes to what is best for those who use the fields. But, the resources are limited. An additional $80,000-100,000 is significant. Because of the limitations, maybe people should be going to the corporation that makes BILLIONS off us all in shoe sales and ask them the question, why does the Nike fill cost so much? Why aren’t they trying to do more to make the fields safer for all that buy their shoes?

    I do believe that the folks that make the decisions are trying their best to provide our children with the safest opportunities possible given the resources available.


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