WHEREAS, environmental groups, hospitals, doctors, universities, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency have expressed new concerns about the chemicals found in tire shreds; and
WHEREAS, the use of waste tire mulch on playgrounds and as infill on playing fields can result in regular, long-term exposure to potentially hazardous substances through inhalation, ingestion, and absorption through the skin; and
WHEREAS, synthetic turf and waste tire crumb rubber has been documented to become significantly hotter than natural grass and even asphalt because it absorbs solar radiation and can reach temperatures as high as 170 degrees Fahrenheit, which puts children at greater risk for dehydration, heat stress, heat stroke, and burns; and
WHEREAS, waste tires contain hazardous substances, including heavy metals such as zinc, cadmium, and lead that leach from the material as they degrade, contaminating the soil, plants, and aquatic systems and harming aquatic life such as algae and fish; and
WHEREAS, as tire mulch and crumb heats up, it releases potential toxic gases and chemicals such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); and
WHEREAS, parents have reported children putting pieces of tire much in their mouths, and tire dust on children’s clothes, skin, and inside their nostrils after playing on these surfaces, and
WHEREAS, on June 10, 2015, a study by the Environment and Human Health, an organization of physicians and public health professionals, found 96 chemicals in the rubber tire infill used in synthetic turf and rubber tire mulch used as surfacing in playgrounds; and
WHEREAS, of the 96 chemicals detected, a little under a half have had no toxicity assessments done on them for their health effects and the other half have had some toxicity testing done on them, but even many of those chemicals had incomplete toxicity testing and therefore all health effects are not fully known; and
WHEREAS, of the half of those chemicals that have had toxicity assessments, 20% are known to be probable carcinogens; 40% were found to be irritants; 24% are respiratory irritants, some of which are known to cause asthma symptoms; 37% are skin irritants; and 27% are eye irritants; and
WHEREAS, in May 2016, in a memo on the hazards to children’s health of using recycled tires in athletic fields, the Dean of Global Health of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and author of the textbook Children’s Environmental Health, Philip J. Landrigan concluded that, “the use of recycled waste tires for playground mulch and crumb rubber athletic field infill potentially puts the health of children and athletics at risk;” and
WHEREAS, the public has a right to a healthful environment and to be free of the health and environmental hazards posed by the chemical exposures and other dangers from recycled waste tire mulch and crumb;
Therefore, Be It Resolved by the 21st Legislative District Democrats Organization that they are strongly opposed to the installation or replacement of any facilities or amenities using waste tires, including the use of waste tire crumb rubber and waste tire mulch.
Be It Further Resolved that the 21st Legislative District Democratic Organization (LDDO) supports other government agencies and partners in their efforts to address community concerns related to waste tire materials and their efforts to find funding for alternative materials.
Be It Further Resolved that the 21st Legislative District Democrats ask the Cities of King and Snohomish County, and their relevant school districts, to discontinue the use of waste tire materials as ground cover and develop contingency plans and budgets for changing or removing the waste tire rubber mulch and crumb that is now in use to less toxic options.
Be It Further Resolved that the 21st Legislative District Democrats requests that government agencies and partners operating in the cities of King and Snohomish County post health and safety information as listed on the Washington State Department of Health website.
Be It Further Resolved that the 21st Legislative Districts ask the Washington State Health Department to make:
- Requirements that facility operators and/or owners post health and safety information as listed on the Washington State Department of Health website.
- A public awareness effort for users and property owners about the best safety precautions that can be taken so as to limit or prevent exposure to and ingestion of toxins as well as health concerns related to the heat effects, and
Be it finally resolved that when this resolution is approved by the 21st LDDO, a copy of it be sent to each of the agencies and governments mentioned herein.
Adopted – May 31, 2018