Announcement from EPA and other key news items
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
February 12, 2016
This announcement culminated several significant events this week relating to advocacy efforts to counter the persistent unfounded claims surrounding crumb rubber. All of these developments are positive for our industry as we continue to educate the public regarding synthetic turf systems. The STC has been working with three other industry groups in a number of efforts that have had a positive effect on the issue. We will summarize each below and provide the links to the full stories for those who want more detailed information.
STC has provided statements for press inquiries. The NBC Nightly News is likely to be mention the story tonight, as a follow-up on Stephanie Gosk's stories. It would be beneficial for STC members to share any or all of these events with your colleagues and clients, especially public officials who are seeking answers to frequently asked questions.
- On Tuesday, February 9, 2016, the New Haven Register published a letter to the editor submitted by STC. The primary antagonist in the false claims against CRI is Nancy Alderman. Last week, a Connecticut news outlet published a letter from her comparing public officials in Connecticut to negligent officials in Flint, Michigan. The STC provided the following letter, taking issue with such hyperbole and defending public officials who conduct due diligence in a responsible manner: http://www.nhregister.com/opinion/20160209/letter-to-the-editor-comparisons-of-turf-to-flint-are-irresponsible-and-baseless
- On Wednesday, February 10, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, held a hearing entitled "Industry Perspectives on the Consumer Product Safety Commission." In that committee, the testimony included the following statement regarding CRI:
Potential safety concerns have been raised about crumb rubber from tire scraps that is used in the mats and padding for playground surfacing and synthetic field surfacing. Health risks posed by these materials could include lead exposure and cancer risks. In 2008, CPSC issued a statement indicating that artificial turf made from crumb rubber was "ok to install and ok to play on." CPSC has distanced itself from that release indicating potential uncertainty about the safety of these materials. Consumers are uncertain and concerned.
The state of California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is conducting a compressive review of crumb rubber and the CPSC is monitoring this work and providing technical assistance. The CPSC is also working with other agencies which have jurisdiction over this product. However, CPSC has made clear that in order to work effectively on this issue, they need an increase in their budget appropriations. CFA agrees that the uncertainty over the safety of crumb rubber is problematic and urges Congress to increase funds to CPSC to ensure that this and other emerging safety issues can be effectively addressed.
The full hearing webcast can be accessed at https://energycommerce.house.gov/hearings-and-votes/hearings/industry-perspectives-consumer-product-safety-commission-1
- Thursday, February 11, 2016. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT) announced the President's budget would include a request for $1 million to fund Consumer Product Safety Commission Efforts to organize a multi-agency effort regarding investigation of health concerns relating to CRI. His announcement indicated a follow-on press conference today with Nancy Alderman in Connecticut.
- Friday, February 12, 2016. The Environmental Protection Agency announced a new federal research action plan to investigate whether crumb rubber poses health concerns or not. http://www.epa.gov/chemical-research/federal-research-action-plan-recycled-tire-crumb-used-playing-fields
- NBC News reporter Stephanie Gosk has reported on the EPA's announcement: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/artificial-turf-debate/feds-finally-take-action-crumb-rubber-turf-n517726
In addition to these newsworthy events, we also received an official inquiry by a community in Massachusetts who would like STC to provide a briefer on the different types of alternative infills available. We are working with them to do so, which is consistent with our efforts to not elevate or promote one type of infill over another.