MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Playgrounds provide numerous benefits for kids, and inevitably numerous ways for kids to get hurt. However, these days, parents are less concerned about the slides and the monkey bars, and increasingly concerned about what their kids are playing on, and what’s inside.
The ground up tires at Minneapolis Public Schools playgrounds seem harmless, but according to the Environmental Protection Agency, lead, mercury and arsenic are among the toxic materials commonly found in recycled tires. The EPA is advising kids to wash their hands after playing, but so far, stopping short of calling tire in fill playgrounds “unsafe.” However, some parents like Nancy Brown disagree.
“What we know is not only are those chemicals leaching out of the tires but they are also emitted into the breathing space above the tires,” Brown said.
She launched an online petition earlier this year, and more than 1,500 people have signed on to lobby for change. They hope Minneapolis Public Schools will replace the rubber with a less toxic material like wood chips.
Senator Jeff Hayden is among those pledging support for legislation that would evaluate the safety of tire in fill playgrounds.
“If there was a non-toxic material in the playground right now wood chips, wood fiber, even sand I would be overjoyed and this campaign would be over tomorrow,” Brown said.
Tire fill playgrounds are not just here in Minnesota, they are all over the country. Local advocates hope by getting rid of them they will set a precedent for the rest of the country.
Change.org petition: Remove shredded waste tires from Minneapolis Public Schools playgrounds