EPA Studies Used-Tire Playground Risks

"The federal government is reconsidering whether sports fields and playgrounds made from ground-up tires could harm children's health after some Environmental Protection Agency scientists raised concerns, documents show.

The EPA is concluding a limited study of air and surface samples at four fake-surface fields and playgrounds that use recycled tires -- the same material used under the Obama family's new play set at the White House.

Although the EPA for years has endorsed recycled-rubber surfaces as a means of decreasing playground injuries, its own scientists now have pointed to research suggesting potential hazards from repeated exposure to bits of shredded tire that can contain carcinogens and other chemicals, according to internal EPA documents.

The scientists cited gaps in scientific evidence, despite other reviews showing little or no health concern, and urged their superiors to conduct a broad health study to inform parents on kids' safety.

Results from the agency's limited study, which began last year, are expected within weeks."

Rita Beamish reports for the Associated Press June 4, 2009.

Thursday, June 4, 2009