Concerned parents file suit over playgrounds' hazardous materials

Over the past decade, the surfaces of many playgrounds in Ohio and across the nation have been outfitted with a material known as "tire crumbs" or "rubber mulch." Made from old tires that have been shredded, the crumbled rubber is springy and was supposed to provide a safer surface to cushion children's falls better than wood chips or gravel. However, a group of parents in another state is now suing a school district, claiming the hazardous materials contain carcinogens that endanger children.

The parent group Keep Turf Safe filed a lawsuit on Feb. 1, asking the court system to halt any further crumb turf installations until the school district complies with the state's Environmental Quality Act. The suit claims that the district failed to conduct an environmental review or to notify parents and the public before the installation of the artificial playground surface at local elementary schools. Several school districts across the nation have already decided against installing tire-crumb turf fields due to health concerns.

In the complaint, parents allege that tire crumbs are a known risk, as they contain carcinogens, heavy metals and other substances that are known to be toxic. Additionally, there is evidence illustrating a remarkably high rate of cancer in U.S. youths who have played as soccer goalies on tire crumb turf. Parents are irate that, despite this evidence, they were not made aware before the material was installed, and their children are now playing on these fields and being exposed to the toxicities.

The complaint also claims that a number of students had to be sent to the school nurse for heat exhaustion after playing on the tire crumb surface, as the material reaches unsafe temperatures and emits fumes when it becomes heated. The parents involved are understandably irate that no overall environmental review of the hazardous materials was performed before installation and feel their apprehensions were ignored. Any parents in Ohio with similar concerns over dangerous materials have the legal right to contact an attorney with experience in product liability suits.

Source: courthousenews.com, "Parents Say Schools' Tire-Crumb Turf Is Dangerous", Bianca Bruno, Feb. 8, 2017

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