by Hannah Rappleye, Kevin Monahan and Stephanie Gosk, NBC News, October 1, 2015
EXCERPTS FROM THE ARTICLE:
Despite a series of NBC News reports on the growing debate about the safety of crumb rubber artificial turf, the federal agencies that regulate the product have remained largely silent.
Earlier this month, in fact, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency would not answer a direct on-camera question about whether the surface found on playgrounds and athletic fields across the country is safe for kids to play on.
"I have nothing to say about that right now," EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told NBC's Stephanie Gosk when Gosk caught up with her in a Capitol Hill hallway. Prior to their encounter, NBC had already made repeated requests for interviews with the EPA without success.
But some coaches, doctors and parents have raised questions about the chemicals found in the little black dots that make up the rubber infill and often wind up stuck to the skin, shoes and clothes of athletes.
According to the EPA, mercury, lead, benzene and arsenic, among several other chemicals, heavy metals, and carcinogens, have been found in tires.
"Tires were not designed to be playgrounds," Anastas, who is now Director of the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale. "They were designed to be tires."