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Here is the email I sent today to the Obamas via the White House webform:

President and Mrs. Obama:

I have just read that you decided to put rubber mulch in the children's playground area at the White House.

You may have made this decision because you were told that this material would cushion a fall and prevent injuries.

I can appreciate your concern and your thinking.  I want to tell you about another health concern about rubber mulch that may change your risk/benefit analysis about using this product where your children play.

What you were not told is that rubber mulch is not mulch at all.  In fact, this material has nothing to do with earth.  It is made up of shredded rubber tires.  You can't throw rubber tires away in a regular land fill in most states because they are designated as either hazardous or special waste in these states.  Because old tires can’t just be thrown away, the EPA has worked with the Rubber Manufacturing Association to come up with ways to shred and spread old tires.  Unfortunately, when they made these plans, they did not ask questions and study what is in the tires – what makes it impossible to just throw them away – and whether or not what is in the tires might people and the environment around the area if you shred and spread them.

Here in Connecticut, where I live, state scientists are studying this material right now to determine whether chemicals in rubber infill and rubber mulch are hazardous to children's heath.  Previous lab studies they did showed chemicals in the old tires were, in fact, coming from the rubber.

Scientists in New Jersey, California, and New York are all doing tests right now, too.  

In New York City, for instance, a synthetic turf field containing crumb rubber infill was recently closed when tests revealed that high levels of lead were coming from the rubber infill in the Harlem field.

No level of lead is safe for children. And lead is not the only chemical of concern in this product:

According to Environment and Human Health, Inc. (EHHI), a Connecticut advocacy and education group made up of scientists, doctors, and former public health officials, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station has analyzed  a sample of ground-up rubber tires and found:

Benzothiazole: Skin and eye irritation, harmful if swallowed. There is no available data on cancer, mutagenic toxicity, teratogenic toxicity, or developmental toxicity.

Butylated hydroxyanisole: Recognized carcinogen, suspected endocrine toxicant, gastrointestinal toxicant, immunotoxicant (adverse effects on the immune system), neurotoxicant (adverse effects on the nervous system), skin and sense-organ toxicant. There is no available data on cancer, mutagenic toxicity, teratogenic toxicity, or developmental toxicity.

n-hexadecane: Severe irritant based on human and animal studies. There is no available data on cancer, mutagenic toxicity, teratogenic toxicity, or developmental toxicity.

4-(t-octyl) phenol: Corrosive and destructive to mucous membranes. There is no available data on cancer, mutagenic toxicity, teratogenic toxicity, or developmental toxicity.

Zinc: There is a very large amount of zinc that is added in the manufacturing of tires and therefore there is a great deal of zinc.

Other Chemicals that are often found in rubber tires are:

Benzene: Carcinogen, Developmental Toxicant, Reproductive Toxicant

Phthalates: Suspected Developmental Toxicant, Endocrine Toxicant, Reproductive Toxicant

PAHs: Suspected Cardiovascular or Blood Toxicant, Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Reproductive Toxicant, Respiratory Toxicant  

Maganese: Gastrointestinal or liver toxicants

Carbon Black: Carcinogen

Latex: Causes allergic reactions in some people

These chemicals don't belong in your garden and they don't belong anywhere near children.

I hope you will reconsider your plans to lay down rubber where your children and their friends will play and that you will keep this product out of your gardens until independent, state, and federal scientists can determine whether it constitutes a hazard to human health and the environment.

Regards,

Patricia Taylor
Westport, CT

UPDATE:  Dr. William Crain emailed me after he read this diary.

Dr. Crain is a professor of psychology at the City College of New York and a developmental psychologist with expertise on how rich contact with the natural world benefits children's cognitive development.

He reminded me that all PAHs found in thestudies he co-authored with Junfeng (Jim) Zhang, Ph.D., an associate dean and professor of environmental and occupational health at the UMDNJ-School of Public Health, exceed NY State safety limits are possible, probable, or known carcinogens.

Originally posted to Patricia Taylor on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:36 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Interesting statement (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soms

      You wrote:

      You can't throw rubber tires away in a regular land fill in most states because they are designated as either hazardous or special waste in these states.  

      Could you cite the state regulations that have designated rubber tires as a hazardous waste?

      I'm not aware of any.  

      •  It's Complicated, (0+ / 0-)

        I believe, because designation of rubber tires is in transition nowbecause of a court ruling regarding EPA interpretation of the Clean Air Act.

        In the past decade, owners of industrial boilers considered themselves do-gooders because they had the Environmental Protection Agency's blessing to burn alternative fuels, including old tires. Yet environmental groups said the practice dodged clean-air requirements by classifying incinerators as boilers, which have less stringent emission rules.

        On June 8, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia agreed, heading off a new EPA rule that was to go into effect last week and forcing the agency to come up with a new definition of "solid waste."

        "Tires will become a pariah if they are classified as a solid waste," said Michael Blumenthal, senior technical director for the Rubber Manufacturers Association in the District, which represents major tire manufacturers. He said the impact of the ruling would be "monumental."

        Description of scrap tires, and what to do with them, varies by state.

        For instance, in Connecticut, tires are termed "special waste:"

        Historically, scrap tires were discarded in properly managed landfills. If these tires were improperly stockpiled or illegally dumped, however, the tires often became breeding grounds for disease-carrying pests, such as mosquitoes and rodents. Tires in stockpiles can also ignite, creating tire fires that are difficult to extinguish, generating unhealthy smoke and toxic oils.

        Recycling and reuse markets for scrap tires have developed over the years -- for substitute construction materials, ground rubber, retreaded tires, and tire-derived fuel (TDF). In 2000, paper mills in Maine consumed about 71,000 tons of TDF - the equivalent of approximately 7.1 million scrap tires. In Connecticut, scrap tires are burned to create energy at a dedicated tire-to-energy facility that burned more than 10 million scrap tires in 2000.

        Although markets for the recycling and innovative use of scrap tires continue to grow, many tires are still being stockpiled or discarded. Most New England states have programs specifically dealing with scrap tires. These include, for example, restrictions on land disposal; regulations for the transportation, processing and storage of scrap tires; and the establishment of recycling markets and programs.

        Here are state landfill regulations:

         

        * 38 states ban whole tires from landfills.
           * 35 states allow shredded tires to be placed in landfills.
           * 11 states ban all tires from landfills.
           * 17 states allow processed tires to be placed into monofills.
           * 8 states have no restrictions on placing scrap tires in landfills.

        According to the same EPA site linked to above:

        Scrap tire piles are not treated as hazardous waste. However, once a tire fire occurs, tires break down into hazardous compounds including gases, heavy metals, and oil which may then trigger Superfund cleanup status.

        So the short answer is that the EPA has decided (a decision which is in review) that scrap tires as tires are not hazardous waste but they are made up of components that when heated ARE hazardous waste.

        That is why I said that they are designated as either hazardous or special waste.

        I'm sure you know some of this.

        •  I knew it before you answered (0+ / 0-)

          Just so you know, the term "hazardous waste" is a very special designation in the federal and state solid waste regulations.  Just because something contains hazardous constituents doesn't make it a hazardous waste.

          So when you say:

          So the short answer is that the EPA has decided (a decision which is in review) that scrap tires as tires are not hazardous waste but they are made up of components that when heated ARE hazardous waste.

          That's certainly an answer. It just happens to be a wrong answer.  It's incorrect.  

          Tires, intact, shredded, heated, or whatever, aren't hazardous waste.  They're solid waste. They have chemical constituents in them that are potentially hazardous to health (depending on concentration), but so does pretty much any manufactured product as well as many naturally-occurring substances.

          Tires are a "special waste" - a solid waste that has to be handled in a special manner, because of problems they cause when piled up (fires and disease vector habitat) as well as problems with landfilling, because they don't compact (unless shredded first) and take up an inordinate amount of volume in landfills.  Given their volume, relatively consistent physical properties, chemical make-up, and heat value when combusted in a controlled way, it's much better to remove them from the solid waste stream and handle them separately as a special waste.  

          •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

            And the common sense fact remains that the reason this "special" waste becomes hazardous when it ignites is because there are chemicals in the tires that hurt people when they are released via heat.

            These same chemicals are in shredded rubber tires heating up on playing fields and playgrounds.

            These same chemicals, alone, would be designated as hazardous waste.

            You need to reconnect your thinking to the practical reality that young and older children are playing on a material that is flammable, gets hot in the sun, is distressed by acidic rainfall and wear and tear, is migrating off the original area, and under field conditions may be outgassing and leaching toxics.

            All the language in the world cannot erase that fact.

    •  very important subject (0+ / 0-)

      i saw a program recently on this same issue. Turns out heat
      and the sun breaks down the chemicals in the rubber, and then
      when the children play on the surface, they inhale dust, it
      gets on their skin and clothes. no wonder we have higher
      incidents of cancer, autism etc.

      Does industry always have to make people sick before
      they will do the right thing. geez....

      Especially since Malia has allergies,it won't be good for her. and
      could cause her to develop more severe allergies, or diseases
      like asthma.

  •  Good Diary. (10+ / 0-)

    Grass and earth is good enough to fall on.

    With him from the beginning, with him until the end.

    by brooklynbadboy on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:39:27 AM PDT

  •  There goes a use of old tires (11+ / 0-)

    I would wait for the verdict from scientists before I condemn the recycling of old tires.

    •  Really? You think it's worth it to wait when (9+ / 0-)

      children's health is at stake? I don't.

      Beware the lollipop of mediocrity: lick it once and suck forever.

      by second gen on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:40:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Think About It The Other Way Around - (10+ / 0-)

      I would wait for an all clear from scientists before I put rubber tires where children play.

    •  I would prefer (9+ / 0-)

      we wait to use this stuff until we have the verdict of scientists.  How many have died because products were approved for use and we later discovered their devastating impact on our health.  Time to reverse that-make sure it is safe BEFORE putting it in use.  JMHO.

      He has risen with his honor, grace and civility intact. Chicago Tribune endorsement of Barack Obama

      by MufsMom on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:45:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, but... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        boofdah

        in situations like these, I find that people will ignore the science if it gives the all clear.

        There are still people that won't vaccinate their kids, after all.

        An agnostic not because I don't know if there's a God, but because I don't care.

        by filmgeek83 on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:49:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So? (0+ / 0-)

          What is the downside of not using the tires if people ignore the "all clear"?

          What is the downside of using the tires before the scientists have given an "all clear"?

          •  My point is... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FlyingToaster

            you don't want to wait for the science.  You have already made up your mind.  There's nothing wrong with not wanting your child to play in rubber mulch, but don't cause a panic when one isn't warranted yet.  Take your precautions, at let the rest of us wait and see.

            An agnostic not because I don't know if there's a God, but because I don't care.

            by filmgeek83 on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:53:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If so, you did a bad job of trying to make it. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gustynpip

              My point is you don't want to wait for the science.

              There is nothing in your comment that remotely suggests this is your point, much less makes it.

              And your "point" is completely unsupported by evidence. It's not merely that you can present zero evidence that I have already made up my mind, you have zero evidence that reached any opinion on the matter of whether or not rubber is safe. What is it they call coming to a conclusion without any objective evidence? Not science, that's for sure.

              Take your precautions, at let the rest of us wait and see.

              Ditto. Conclusions not supported by anything. Where did I suggest others were not free to wait and see?

              Stop hallucinating and start reading what people are actually saying.

          •  Oh, and... (0+ / 0-)

            It will escape no one's attention that you dodged my two questions.

            •  The downside (0+ / 0-)

              Is wasted resources and more kids with playground injuries.

              •  The resources aren't (0+ / 0-)

                wasted -- there are lots of uses for recycled tires.  And I don't thinking trading one type of injury for another is a good plan.

                I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution. -- Barbara Jordan, 1974

                by gchaucer2 on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 10:21:52 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  When one injury (0+ / 0-)

                  is intercranial bleeding. And the other is theoretical brief exposure to a trace amount of toxic chemicals I think the trade off is a pretty good one.

                  •  Data? (0+ / 0-)

                    Do you have any data to suggest that the incidence of intracranial bleeding from kids playing in areas that are cushioned with rubber as opposed to other types of cushioning?  Or is this just another theoretical downside?

                    the other is theoretical brief exposure to a trace amount of toxic chemicals

                    This comparison lacks logical equivalence. These comparisons have logical equivalence:

                    A fall vs exposure to trace amongs of toxic chemicals

                    Intracranial bleeding vs leukemia or neurological damage

                    •  Do you? (0+ / 0-)

                      Do you have any data that the tires are harmful? Because if you do, perhaps you ought to share it with all the scientists who would seem to suggest that at this point the harm is theoretical. That they contain toxic chemicals, that might be released, that then might be ingested in children, that might then accumulate in sufficient quantities to cause injury.

                      What is up with this mesianic insistence anyway? I'm not saying that they should be used or that they won't make kids sick, so why don't you go harass someone who is?

                      •  No...why would I? (0+ / 0-)

                        Do you have any data that the tires are harmful?

                        No, why would I? I haven't claimed that they are harmful.

                        What is up with this mesianic insistence anyway?

                        Are you suggesting that I have insisted something? What would that be?

              •  Data? (0+ / 0-)

                Do you have data support either of your premises...

                1. That resources will be wasted if the rubber tires are not used specifically for playground cushioning?
                1. That kids will have more playground injuries with any other form of cushioning than with rubber tires?
                •  Give me a fucking break. (0+ / 0-)

                  Of course I don't have data on either subject.

                  •  Then these are merely hypothetical? (0+ / 0-)
                    •  Logic... (0+ / 0-)

                      Try to follow me.

                      If tires are not used, something else will be used in their place. Presumably the something else either does not prevent injuries as well or costs more/is otherwise less efficient than tires.

                      Of course, you're correct, it is hypothetical in the sense that if there is no rational reason to use the tires to begin with, then the conclusions are not valid.  

                      •  Presumably (0+ / 0-)

                        Presumably the something else either does not prevent injuries as well or costs more/is otherwise less efficient than tires.

                        It is hypothetical in the sense that you are presuming.

                        There may be a rational reason to use the tires, but that doesn't mean there are no suitable alternatives.  It seems that one reason to use the tires is to recycle rubber, but there are many other ways to recycle it without using it as playground mulch.  It may also be effective at cushioning falls, but that doesn't mean there are not other materials that are equally effective.

                        In any case, when I asked the question, I was hoping someone around here might actually be knowledgeable on the subject and could provide an answer based on more than presumptions.

                  •  Why "of course"? (0+ / 0-)

                    This is, in case you haven't heard, supposed to be a reality-based community. Most people come to the table with data to support their arguments. Why "of course"?

            •  Chill. n/t (0+ / 0-)

              "It's like he channels dead crazy people."

              by Wltdnfaded on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 11:51:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  This was the thinking behind the use of... (3+ / 0-)

      ...silicone breast implants. "We don't know if it will hurt you or not, so let's do it."

      Fortunately, juries and judges all across the country agreed with the women who suffered the consequences that this attitude on the part of someone who is not going to be at risk of the consequences themselve is negligent. Very negligent, judging by the punitive damage awards.

      In that case, the MDs were undoubtedly motivated by greed, which, however deplorable, is at least understandable.  I can't imagine what motivate any parent might have to take this kind of cavalier attitude toward the health of their child.

      •  I Agree With You About Precaution (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        boofdah

        After looking at this issue for a couple of years now, I have come to feel that it isn't that parents are being cavalier but rather that they are 1) busy, 2) trust their government, 3) want their children to play team sports and be happy and healthy, 4) have been reassured by the synthetic turf industry that their product is perfectly safe.

        The problem is that the right questions weren't asked and the testing wasn't done before the product was manufactured and distributed.

        Parents think that because it has been allowed in their communities, and in a lot of communities very quickly, that it is safe.

        They think that if it wasn't, this surge of artificial fields would never have been allowed to happen.

        As with many other areas of our government and political life, oversight, funding, and regulatory apparatuses at our federal, state, and local health agencies have been found lacking on this issue.

        In the void, the industry has moved forward.

        And doubt promotion, which was perfected by the tobacco industry, and used by pharmaceutical, chemical, and materials industries like the asbestos industry, is used to quiet down any concerns while the march for profit continues.

        Unfortunately, the profit formula does not include the cost to human health and the environment.  If it did, you'd see the margins were much lower than they appear to be.

        •  They use it for horse race tracks too (0+ / 0-)

          imagine the dust they stir up when the horses are galloping
          full throttle, and people are leaning into the rails to watch.

          It is mostly in saudia arabia, and quatar, The US is still
          using turf, or real dirt, chirt to race.

      •  thanks for reminding us (0+ / 0-)

        ... that putting something on the ground that kids will jump on is the same as inserting something into your body that can break and leak.

    •  I hope this is snark; poisoning children is not (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Patricia Taylor, boofdah, impygirl

      a responsible use of old tires. Recycle them into second generation tires, how about that?

      Besides being poisonous, the fumes from the ground-up rubber stink horribly; and, the rubber, being black, absorbs the heat of the sun - a playground with that godawful crap on it has a permanent chemical stench and is twice as hot as the rest of the world - it has always seemed to me to be a spectacularly unpleasant and unhealthy surface for a playground, and I've been wondering what playground designers were thinking for years.

      Which scientists are you waiting for? What exactly was your problem with these?

      According toEnvironment and Human Health, Inc.(EHHI), a Connecticut advocacy and education group made up of scientists, doctors, and former public health officials, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station has analyzed  a sample of ground-up rubber tires and found: - etc.

      •  You seem to be confusing some things (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FlyingToaster, Jon Says

        Just because a chemical that is harmful is documented to be present doesn't mean it is possible to be exposed to it.

        Just because one might be exposed to a chemical doesn't mean it is present above a concentration of potential concern.

        Just because a chemical is present at a high enough level of concern doesn't mean the duration of exposure is long enough to cause measurable harm.

        There are a number of steps between documenting that a compound or element is present in waste tires and being able to conclude that their use on playing fields is "poisoning children."

        Caution is good.  I'm glad the State of Connecticut is doing this study. But I haven't see any data indicating that the practice of using ground up tires or tire mulch should be immediately stopped.

        •  I'm just taking a wild guess here, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          obiterdictum

          but you're not a parent of a young child, are you, Ernest?  Actually, I'm guessing most of the people commenting taking the "wait and see" approach are not either.

          "Most fools don't understand my worldview." - Ignatius J. Reilly

          by impygirl on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 10:48:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, _I_ am... (0+ / 0-)

            ... the parent of an 18-month-old, and our closest playground has the rubberized groundcover.

            It's not black.  It's not hotter than the sand and pea stone that it replaced, and it's cooler than the asphalt at the second-nearest playground.  It stands up infinitely better to the rather extreme elements here in New England (cold, heat, wet, dry and wind) than the natural options.

            My daughter won't be running on it barefoot (because we're city kids and I don't let her run anywhere around here barefoot), but she'll be playing on it several times a week for the next couple of years.

            And I'm not worried.  I did my time in college chemistry and am well aware that a) there's nasty shit contained in all sorts of things and b) that the nasty shit is usually locked into the object-at-hand sufficiently as not to leak under normal usage.  If this were flooring for a water park, I'd never ever let humans in there; but floor for an outdoor play structure?  Not really a problem.

            And, unlike sand and mulch (which are both used locally), I haven't seen any used needles or condoms dumped under the swings on the rubber surface.  Just sayin'.

            •  How does it smell? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              impygirl

              The playgrounds I've been on that were covered with ground rubber smelled like the tire store. Not exactly like being, you know, out in the fresh air.

              They were relatively new, I suppose, and they were definitely black - as is the ground cover in the photos of the Obama swing set. But it was the smell that was truly unbelievable, and it's important to consider that those fumes are how little kids will ingest whatever is in the tires.

          •  My children are in college (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            But I have been the parent of a young child in the past; two, in fact.

            I also deal with environmental contaminants as part of my profession, and commonly see unwarranted fear and alarm because of misunderstandings.

        •  Connecticut (0+ / 0-)

          is currently investigating synthetic turf fields, crumb rubber infill, and rubber mulch.

          I hope a health survey will follow that investigation.

          Unfortunately, the absolute proof of harm will be injured children.

          A lot of children.

          I hope that you remain satisfied that it wasn't necessary to prevent their exposure or delay the installation of more fields while this study, and others, were conducted.

          I hope you remain happy that you felt you needed to see more data before you thought caution was warranted.

          I really do.

    •  There are literally (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nina Katarina

      dozens of current uses for recycled tires:  road surfaces (mixed with asphalt), railroad ties, stanchions, lawn furniture (heavy as hell), outdoor mats.  1 standard tire equals one quart of oil.  Through pyrolisis technology back in the early '90s, one could extract one barrel of oil for $26.  In the US, 1 tire per every person per year is disposed.  That's about 300 million tires per year.  

      In CT there is a ridiculously overbuilt tire to energy plant.  It is located in a stupid place -- near the border of RI.  It is stupid because it isn't central or on a rail line.  Tires are expensive to transport.  There isn't enough volume of disposed tires in CT to make the plant that profitable (@ 3mil. tires per year).  A burn plant can only handle clean standard car tires -- no construction tires.

      I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution. -- Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 10:19:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's a Verdict From Scientists (0+ / 0-)

      That may give you pause -

      All PAHs found in the studies by Drs. Zhang and Crain in New Jersey that exceed NY State safety limits are possible, probable, or known carcinogens.

    •  A Verdict From Scientists - (0+ / 0-)

      All PAHs found in the studies by Drs. Crain and Zhang  (New Jersey) that exceed NY State safety limits are possible, probable, or known carcinogens.

      Still waiting?

  •  Isn't it odd (12+ / 0-)

    that we keep creating things that are toxic, with little thought to the future.  

    And I agree, brooklynbadboy, that grass and dirt are the best solution.  I'm old enough to remember fine powder dust under swings and at the end of slides (we used it to speed up the slides, in fact).  I remember flying down a steep grade into the coulee on my bike, and the permanent scabs on my knees that never slowed me down.  I remember laying down in deep prairie grass behind our house and garden, all alone and protected from prying eyes, looking up at the amazing blueness of the sky and daydreaming about nothing much.  I remember sitting on the branch of a smallish apple tree, reading.  I remember playing in the mud in the shallows of the tiny river that marked the edge of our property, the forbidden river that was too enticing to avoid.

    We all (7 of us) grew to adulthood without a broken bone or serious injury because, I think, we were allowed to assess the risks on our own, and the older kids protected the younger ones.  We knew to stay away from the river during the spring spate.  We knew not to ride the coulee trail until we were sure of ourselves on those bikes.

    I feel so sorry for kids who never have these opportunities, who are "safetied" into boredom and obesity, and who have to live in a more toxic world than I could have imagined.

    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" - F. Schiller

    by I love OCD on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 09:50:48 AM PDT

    •  Don't have time to look up the quote... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boofdah, EthrDemon, I love OCD

      ...but I am reminded of a passage I read about how we have now so "improved" the world that we are not sure how much longer our species might survive.

    •  I Think If We Put Health (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boofdah, I love OCD

      at the top of the list, we'd create fewer toxics.

      Instead, we put it farther down the list, and so we keep doing the wrong thing.

    •  It is sad (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pHunbalanced, boofdah, VClib, I love OCD

      I used to ride my bike miles and miles into the country and thru neighboring suburban developments  when I was seven-eight. My parents had no idea where I was. Every time I'd go a little farther until I started to get scared, then I'd turn back.  No dumbass helmet either.

      If one of my kids did that today I'd probably have a heart attack.  I guess I've internalized all the bullshit paranoia.

      Who was Bush_Horror2004, anyway?

      by Dartagnan on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 10:01:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've never worked harder (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pHunbalanced, Dartagnan

        at anything than I did at letting my kids go, and trusting them to be smart enough to survive, even though not all kids survive.  I just felt I had to give them the same sense of competence and wisdom we were allowed to develop - and trust me, we did some really stupid stuff, but always knew when we'd gone over the edge.  

        I think both my kids benefitted, although I often credit good fortune and maybe even Guardian angels.  

        "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" - F. Schiller

        by I love OCD on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 10:40:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think helmets are "bullshit paranoia" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dartagnan

        regardless of the other aspects of elysian freedom that existed in the rosy past.

        •  No helmets are not bullshit paranoia (0+ / 0-)

          but they didn't exist in "the olden days".  And the past wasn't rosy, I was sexually molested at the age of 3.  

          I am, however, able to remember the things that were good, and to give them value.  I was fortunate in many ways, and not so much in others.  For me, maturity means being able to put things into perspective, and be grateful for what was good.  It beats the hell out being victimy and pathetic.

          "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" - F. Schiller

          by I love OCD on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 01:16:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  My son entered kindergarten in 1995 and his (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    libnewsie, boofdah

    playground was a maze of cement wall about 3 ft high. No kidding (they took it out that yr) I have never seen anything like it before or since.

    3ft high walls laid out like a corn maze.

  •  It is not as if the kids will be (0+ / 0-)

    likely to be eating the rubber mulch.  

    To say my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, "Your end of the boat is sinking."--Hugh Downs

    by Dar Nirron on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 10:09:27 AM PDT

  •  I have worked on the (4+ / 0-)

    issue of recycled tires for about 15 years in CT.  While tire crumb has numerous beneficial uses, I think it is best to err on the side of caution until testing from different states and the feds are complete.

    I'm not using my tin foil hat; rather long experience with the CT DEP.  They have been dense for decades re: the use of recycled tires -- from pyrolysis to use for railroad ties, stanchions, road surfaces, etc.  That being said, the benefits of tire crumb re: protecting joints is not outweighed by the unknown re: releasse of hydrocarbons and/or carcinogens.

    I think your letter was a good one.  Thanks.

    I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution. -- Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 10:10:51 AM PDT

  •  Nike has a sneaker/shoe rubber recycling program: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gchaucer2

    Home page for Nike's reusable shoe program is here; one of the uses of the company's ground-up shoe rubber is in playground and basketball court surfaces.

    I scanned the site, including a reasonably careful skim of the FAQ section, to see if any questions had arisen over the toxicity of recycled shoe rubber (as opposed to tire rubber) and the process of grinding the shoes, and could find none. It might be worth a question to Nike and perhaps a mention to President Obama and his family to look into replacing their playground surface with a Nike Grind surface, if it turns out shoe-rubber recycled surfaces are safer.

    I'm walking to fight autism! Please support Team Hope's efforts here.

    by boofdah on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 10:24:39 AM PDT

    •  Interesting. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      libnewsie, boofdah

      For decades we used to (maybe still do) ship our tires to 3rd world countries.  The citizens cut the tires into sandals.

      Our continuing problem is disposal.  You can't landfill tires because they don't compact, leave gaps and if there is ever a fire, it will burn for years.  More money should be put into using the crumb with a mix of asphalt for road surfaces.  Also, if stimulus money is being invested into rail lines, testing of crumb composite railroad ties should be pursued further, especially re: high speed trains.  That material is far more beneficial than creosote treated wood.

      I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution. -- Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 10:29:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's a good idea--you should email Obama... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gchaucer2

        ...about your crumb/asphalt mix idea. Also email your state's governor and district house/senate members; s/he might be receptive to the idea at a state-infrastructure level. :)

        FYI here's what I wrote to Nike:

        Hello,

        I recently read an interesting blog post about the possible toxic hazards of recycled-tire playground surfaces, and am wondering if such potential hazards are or are not involved with shoe recycling.

        It seems to me that shoe-rubber recycled surfaces would be safer because the rubber used in sneakers is, to my knowledge, different than that in tires. If shoe-rubber tire safety has indeed been proven scientifically, it might be worth a mention on your FAQs page to reassure parents and other child caregivers who are concerned about children's exposure to toxic materials in playground surfaces.

        Thanks much in advance for your attention to this concern. :)

        Kind regards,
        (me)

        I'm walking to fight autism! Please support Team Hope's efforts here.

        by boofdah on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 10:33:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've already worked with the State (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          boofdah

          unfortunately they are invested in that ridiculous burn plant.  The other major source of tires is now pretty much buried -- it was an old quarry pit that was filled with water.  Tires were put in there for later recovery, but the owner and the State have been in decades long legal wrangling.  The end result is the pond with 13 million tires is filled in with material from the Boston Big Dig.

          It would be great for an entrepreneur, in the middle of the State, on a rail line, to propose an alternative.  Recycled asphalt plus recycled tires plus crushed glass makes a great durable roadbed.
          Back in the 1970s, the mayor of Baltimore experimented with the use of glassphalt.  The roads still exist (periodically patched) and look pretty at night.

          I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution. -- Barbara Jordan, 1974

          by gchaucer2 on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 10:38:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Any Of These Ideas (0+ / 0-)

          should require independent testing to determine if chemicals are leaching or outgassing from the material BEFORE they are implemented, in my opinion, not AFTER they are implemented.

          If we can make human and environmental health the top priority in the decision making process (and factor short AND long-term health concerns into any economic equation), we can really look at the viability of these possibilities in a healthy way, don't you think?

          I agree with gchaucer2 that the main problem is disposal.

          I believe that artificial fields are simply a waste disposal system for old rubber tires.

          I know we need to do something with the tires we discard.

          But that something must be sustainable.

      •  "Steal this book" by Abby Hoffman (0+ / 0-)

        had a diagram for making sandals out of automobile tires.

        To say my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, "Your end of the boat is sinking."--Hugh Downs

        by Dar Nirron on Fri Mar 27, 2009 at 10:55:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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