Today’s launch of a coordinated effort among the leading federal health and safety agencies to research the safety of recycled tire crumb is a significant first step to providing parents with the answers they deserve. EPA, CDC and CPSC are working together to end the uncertainty regarding whether it is safe for our children to play on fields and playgrounds that use crumb rubber and provide guidance that is clear, practical and reliable.
Since becoming Chairman of the CPSC, I have been a strong supporter of the federal government working together to address the risks of chemical exposures to children. I am very pleased that we are joining forces to investigate crumb rubber, as millions of children are exposed to it on playground surfaces and as infill on playing fields.
Some of the government’s best and brightest scientists are working to identify what is in recycled tire crumb, identify ways in which people may be exposed to it, and determine if it is harmful. Robust public participation and the sharing of sound and accurate information will be a critical component of this effort. I am also hopeful Congress will recognize this issue as the public health concern that it is and quickly provide additional resources and authorities that may be needed to complete this vital work.
Our contribution to the coordinated federal action plan will be centered primarily on playground surfacing. CPSC staff will explore conducting a survey of parents to get first-hand perspectives on potential exposures from playground surface materials. As part of this coordinated effort, CPSC plans to conduct additional work on the safety of playgrounds.
CPSC staff will also continue to provide technical assistance to California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as they conduct a comprehensive evaluation of crumb rubber. This will be an important study into human exposure and the impact on human health from crumb rubber that will complement the work being done at the federal level.
I want to thank President Obama, Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden, and National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Director Dr. Patrick Breysse and their staffs for their leadership and our shared commitment to protecting children from exposure from harmful chemicals.
Public Playground Safety Handbook
CPSC’s public playground guidelines are detailed here and are intended to help parks, schools, installers and others choose the safest equipment. Many local jurisdictions have incorporated this handbook into their building codes.