According to news reports, the Environmental Protection Agency is reconsidering its endorsement that it is okay to use ground-up, recycled tires on kids’ playgrounds and sports fields. The tire mulch has been used to cushion the ground in the event of a fall accident.
Now, however, the EPA says there is not enough information to determine whether use of these recycled tires could actually prove a health hazard, and communities in Oregon and other US states are wondering whether they could lead to the inhalation of metals, lead, and chemicals if children touch, inhale, or swallow the material.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says older fields that are more worn down may pose a greater risk for lead exposure. It’s also important to note, however, that not all turf fibers are made with lead.
With the summer holidays fast approaching, many school kids are likely to spend time outdoors playing in local playgrounds or on playground equipments in residential backyards. It’s a good time to note that recycled tires may not be the only issue of concern when it comes to kids’ safety.
Playground Accidents and Injuries
SafeKids USA calls playground accidents the number one cause of injuries to kids ages of 5 to 14—with 150,000 kids each year ending up in US emergency rooms because they were involved in accidents involving playground equipment. About 10 kids die from playground injuries annually, with many injuries caused by fall accidents or strangulation accidents, such as when a piece of clothing gets caught on playground equipment.
Playground equipment that have been known to cause injuries to kids include:
• Swings with metal or wood seats or half-bucket seats
• Adjustable seesaws with chains
• Merry-go-rounds or roundabouts that lack the proper handgrips
• Poorly secured climbing ropes
• Monkey bars
• Lack of a proper playground surface
A defective playground product that causes personal injury can be grounds for an Oregon products liability case involving injuries to children. A premise that has a hazard that causes injury can be grounds for an Oregon premises liability lawsuit.
EPA rethinks play padding, Chicago Tribune, June 5, 2009
No. 1 Cause of Injury in Elementary School: Playground Accidents, Safe Kids USA
Related Web Resources:
Playground Safety, NSC.org
US Environmental Protection Agency
Please contact Portland, Oregon personal injury lawyer Matt Kaplan about your playground accident case.