Senator Calls For Tire Study Funding

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) says he will call on Congress to provide full funding by the federal government for the joint safety study of crumb rubber playgrounds and athletic fields. Despite a $1 million request from President Obama, Congress has yet to provide any funding for any study.

“Studies have revealed strong evidence linking crumb rubber to cancer, and parents de­serve to know now whether these playgrounds and fields are safe,” Blumenthal said.

Meanwhile, three federal agencies have jointly released a 251-page research protocol following their joint action plan (CSN, March 2016) to evaluate the health and environmental effects of chemicals released by crumb rubber. CPSC is focused on playgrounds and EPA and CDC are researching artificial turf athletic fields.

In the executive summary the protocol notes that existing studies examine effects of exposure to crumb rubber infill but “the existing studies do not comprehensively evaluate all aspects of exposure associated with these use scenarios”. The research protocol is de­signed to implement three crucial research elements described in the action plan: Con­duct a literature review and data gaps analysis; perform tire crumb rubber characterization research; perform human exposure characterization research.

It also will involve a human exposure measurement study to further develop and deploy appropriate sample collection methods and the generation of data for improved exposure characterization.

The agencies plan to issue a draft status report before the end of 2016, summarizing the progress of research and identifying substances of concern in recycled tire crumb.

The federal research study is concurrent with two other crumb rubber research projects. California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment began a study of chemical exposures from crumb rubber in 2015. The European Commission has called on the European Chemicals Agency to assess risks from crumb rubber.

Sources: Rubber & Plastics News Report,  www.rubbernews.com; Environment and Hu­man Health, Inc., www.ehhi.org.

Bob Conroy