Minneapolis City Council committee recently voted to put a moratorium on using any city funds for projects that use crumb rubber until studies on the rubber’s health effects can be completed.
“I don’t think we necessarily have the authority to prohibit what they could put their funds to, we’re leading by example,” said Cam Gordon, the council member who sponsored the resolution.
Committee members also went a step further, directing city staff to see if funding can be found to speed up the process of removing the tyre material in concert with Minneapolis Public Schools and the Park and Recreation Board.
The city does not operate any playgrounds or fields, but sometimes provides some funding to those entities. The rubber material is used at 47 Minneapolis Public Schools playgrounds and eight fields operated by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
The material was originally thought to be safe for use, but over time scepticism grew. While government agencies are not ordering the removal of the material from playgrounds, they are studying any potential health impacts. Those results are expected by 2019.
“I spent 15 years in the recycling industry and nothing about using recycled tyres for playground material makes sense to me,” said Dianna Kennedy, a parent with the citizen group Play it Safe Minneapolis. “We know tyres are toxic, and we know kids are getting exposed to it by being on the playgrounds.”