Ban Toxic Tire Crumb Infill on Turf Fields in Fairfax County VA & Use Plant-Derived Infill

Ban Toxic Tire Crumb Infill on Turf Fields in Fairfax County VA & Use Plant-Derived Infill

March 12, 2015
Petition to
Fairfax County, VA
Petition Closed
This petition had 2,231 supporters

Why this petition matters

Started by Jonathan Damm

Fairfax County has installed synthetic turf fields at a furious pace since 2007. There are currently 70 fields in the County, with 15 more scheduled for completion in 2015. We need your help now!

Ask Fairfax County to use safe plant-based infill, not toxic tire infill on all future fields (including the next 15). This is what Montgomery County, MD just unanimously chose to do. 

All the current (and planned future) fields in Fairfax use Tire Rubber (or Crumb Rubber) as the sand like material that provides an exposed layer of cushioning. Our kids literally play on top of 30,000 ground-up tires when they play on a turf field in Fairfax County. In a very real sense, they are playing on Tire Dumps.

There is no barrier between them and the Crumb Rubber. Crumb Rubber contains a long list of carcinogens, heavy metals, PAHs, Phthalates (and other endocrine distributors) as well a carbon black. It is not a natural rubber, tire rubber is a synthetic mix of concerning chemicals. Our kids are directly exposed to this loose and granular material that sits atop of the green carpet. They absorb the chemicals of concern through their skin and cuts, inhale VOC's and tire dust and ingest particulate matter and tire dust. It mixes with their sweat and it also gets into their mouths if they do not wash before eating. In other words, there are multiple levels of exposure.  

Our letter to Fairfax County can be found at this linkLetter to Chairman Bulova.

Crumb rubber has received recent national attention as a potential cause for blood cancers among players (like soccer goalies) with greater exposures to the Crumb Rubber and it's off-gasses and dust. There is a national list with over 126 soccer players that play on crumb rubber and also have cancer. 82 of the soccer players are goalies, who are continuously exposed to the Crumb Rubber. Most are blood cancers. There are only 5000 blood cancers a year under the age of 24, so 82 is a concerning number for an isolated group with 2 things in common: 1) plays soccer goalie and 2) plays on Crumb Rubber. And the list is in the very early stages. It continues to grow at an alarming pace.    

Montgomery County, MD just passed a unanimous Council vote to ban Crumb Rubber and to use infills made out of plant-based alternatives. Montgomery is Maryland's most populous county. Again, the vote was "unanimous." Such plant based alternatives are usually made of cork, coconut and rice husk combinations.

The plant-based alternatives went through rigorous testing over two years in Maryland test fields and the authorities were completely satisfied that the plant-based choices offer the same benefits as Crumb Rubber.

Montgomery County follows New York City Parks and Schools and the LA Unified School District, which also ban Crumb Rubber. While countries like Sweden and Norway also ban the material. California is considering a bill right now that would also enact a ban state-wide. Virginia has a similar bill

Notwithstanding our neighbor's cautious approach, Fairfax County has decided (without public input) to move ahead this spring with the next 15 Crumb Rubber fields. Fairfax is bucking a growing national trend away from Crumb Rubber. There is time to change that. But we need your fast action. We need to show Fairfax that we prefer the prudent and cautious approach that avoids exposing our kids to risky and harmful carcinogens and chemicals. 

Please help Fairfax County recognize the national trend away from this dangerous and risky product. We are asking Fairfax County to follow Montgomery County's lead by banning Crumb Rubber for the Plant-based alternatives. The plant-based alternatives add a slight material cost to the fields, but the cost is worth the elimination of the risks presented by Crumb Rubber. We can have synthetic turf fields, but we don't need to use the riskiest of infill materials. That does not make any sense. 

There are no long term studies that attest the safety of Crumb Rubber. The only studies we have use complex algorithms to speculate whether the ingesting, inhaling and absorbing of tire rubber could be dangerous. Our kids are otherwise real time guinea pigs. And we are beginning to see the predicted results

Please sign this petition in support of a ban on Crumb Rubber. Our kids can have synthetic turf fields without simultaneously playing on toxic tire dumps. The prudent, cautious and measured approach is to choose a material with zero toxins - the plant-based alternatives. 

Thank you!

Additional Links:

Safe Playgrounds 

EHHI Report

Petition Closed

This petition had 2,231 supporters

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