Letters to the Editor

Crumb rubber is a threat to the most vulnerable members of our community

Does our community know about crumb rubber? I am writing this letter because I feel it is necessary to communicate to the folks who may not have kids in the elementary school.

A multitude of families would like to replace the existing mistake with a safer alternative. The problem is half the people think crumb rubber is perfectly fantastic (bouncy, bouncy) and the other half are beside themselves with worry because of concern for recent (asthma, bloody noses) and future health concerns (cancer).

Please take a few minutes, old and young, kids or no kids, to walk by and/or play in the new elementary school playground. The school board recently voted on a discussion item to keep crumb rubber. I believe this is a community issue and not merely a school board decision because we all pay taxes and we also generously donate to the many organizations that support public schools.

I would like us all to consider our natural defense mechanisms. If something is too bright, we shield our eyes. If we hear something too loud, we cover our ears. If we smell something foul, we plug our nose. In most cases, we might avoid a nuisance but sometimes our natural defense mechanism may be warning us about a threat to our health. I believe crumb rubber is a threat to the most vulnerable members of our community — our precious children.

During the school board meeting, members of the board joked about off-gassing the crumb rubber in somebody’s driveway. Is any one of the school board members more than willing or even eager to take on that chore? Even a moment’s hesitation means to me that something is wrong.

Would each and every school board member volunteer to supervise children and play on the playground and in the playground for 30 minutes a day every week? How long would a board member last before they said, “OK, this stuff stinks"? Parents are foregoing the opportunity to help supervise our children as they drop 10 feet from the top of the new play structure because they are just too nauseous.

I am asking every person in this community to try to experience crumb rubber like a school child. Every day for an entire school year and many days on a hot summer day, children will roll in, tunnel and breathe crumb rubber dust and, of course, best of all, bounce off 30,000 crumbed up tires.

Please speak up if you agree with me that a simple mistake was made. Changing out the existing crumb rubber for something similar to the fairground playground or any other suggestion would be helpful. You can send a quick e-mail to compost@rockisland.com if you are interested in adding your name to a petition asking the school board to listen, this time, and not to ignore the many, many, many concerned families.

Thanks for reading this letter.

Maureen Marinkovich
Friday Harbor

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