Weekly Feature

2016-10-19 / Front Page

School Board re-looks at artificial turf concerns


As Crosby Field will soon convert to artificial turf with what is known as “crumb rubber,” Ken-Ton School Board members are raising concerns about the materials in terms of health safety.

Crumb rubber is a recycled rubber produced from automotive and tire scraps. There are questions as to whether or not the material poses a risk to young athletes.

Ken-Ton Trustee Tom Reigstad continues to have doubts after introducing the topic a couple of months ago.

At the Oct. 11 School Board meeting, he suggested that the board members hold off until the Environmental Protection Agency releases a study on crumb rubber, which is scheduled for the end of the year.

The multi-agency action plan also includes the Centers for Disease Control, Prevention/ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Although limited studies haven’t shown an elevated health risk from playing on fields with tire crumb, the existing studies do not comprehensively evaluate the concerns about health risks from exposure to the material, according to the EPA.

According to the agency’s website, the Federal Research Action Plan on Recycled Tire Crumb Used on Playing Fields and Playgrounds seeks to:

Fill important data and knowledge gaps.

Characterize constituents of recycled tire crumb.

Identify ways in which people may be exposed to tire crumb based on their activities on the fields.

Other options for the field include synthetic EPDM rubber, or materials such as coconut, cork or sand.

Going forward the board is creating a subcommittee to look at other material options. There have been no changes made to the contract.

The board’s next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, in the Community Room of the Philip Sheridan Building, 3200 Elmwood Ave.

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