Everett Okay With Crumb Rubber Fields

crumb rubber fields

A look at the soccer fields at Kasch Park which do contain crumb rubber.

crumb rubber fields

Field 2 is set to be replaced in 2016.

The City of Everett is getting ready to replace more soccer fields at Kasch Park and crumb rubber will be used. Recently the issue of crumb rubber and its health effects made news in Edmonds but Everett does not share those concerns.

Here’s Everett’s rationale regarding crumb rubber fields as provided to MyEverettNews.com by Meghan Pembroke at the City of Everett…

Background

Three sand soccer fields at Kasch Park were converted to synthetic (i.e. artificial grass) fields in 2001.  The fields included styrene butadiene rubber (a.k.a. crumb rubber) as an in-fill material on the artificial grass.  Crumb rubber stabilizes and cushions the playing surface of the artificial grass.  Crumb rubber is a recycled product created by grinding used truck and car tires.

The lifespan of the artificial “grass” blades is lengthened by ensuring that a sufficient amount of crumb rubber is on the surface.  That amount is approximately 2.2 pounds per square foot.

The three synthetic soccer fields had an original lifespan of approximately 8 to 10 years.  While we lacked capital funding to replace the fields, the field maintenance by department staff allowed us to extend the life of the fields past their predicted lifespan.

Funding became available in 2012 and Field #1 was replaced.  Its in-fill material is crumb rubber.  Fields 2 and 3, now five to seven years past the end of their life cycle, are scheduled for replacement in the late spring/early summer of 2016.  City Council authorized a call for bids on Nov. 3.  We anticipate that a construction contract and funding ordinance for this project will be scheduled for City Council action in late January/early February 2016.

Crumb Rubber Use

Crumb rubber is used on approximately 95% of synthetic fields across the world.  It is also the most widely tested in-fill material in terms of its effects on the environment and player health.

Within the last year, several elected officials in Congress and in the Washington State legislature have asked whether crumb rubber is related to and/or causes cancer. Peer-reviewed studies to date and assessments by many organizations, including state departments of health and, locally, the Verdant Health Commission, have and continue to conclude that there is no significant public health risk.

The Snohomish Health District does not have a policy position regarding the use of crumb rubber, and refers to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH).  DOH has concluded that “the currently available research does not suggest that crumb rubber presents a significant public health risk.”

Crumb rubber is currently in use at many local facilities. The Everett School District’s Lincoln Field and Memorial Stadium have synthetic surfaces with crumb rubber.  The Edmonds School District just completed its synthetic field project at Woodway High School with crumb rubber as the in-fill (September 2015).  Verdant commissioned an assessment study related to this issue and the study was presented to its board in May 2015.  The study’s authors write that the study focused on publicly available data and “potential risks from chemical exposures related to artificial turf products…”  The study’s conclusion was that crumb rubber does not present a risk to people playing on fields with this product.

Conclusion

With respect to public health, the best available science to date indicates that crumb rubber is a safe in-fill material.  It is also the most cost effective material in terms of its life cycle cost.  At this time, the City plans to move forward with the Kasch Park Soccer Fields #2/#3 replacement project as it is currently designed, using crumb rubber as the in-fill material.




About myeverettnews

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

View all posts by myeverettnews
advert