Disposal of used tires has been a major problem in solid waste management. New uses will have to be found to consume recycled tire products. One such proposed use is as ground cover in playgrounds. However, concern has been expressed regarding exposure of children to hazardous chemicals and the environmental impact of such chemicals. We designed a comprehensive hazard assessment to evaluate and address potential human health and environmental concerns associated with the use of tire crumb in playgrounds. Human health concerns were addressed using conventional hazard analyses, mutagenicity assays, and aquatic toxicity tests of extracted tire crumb. Hazard to children appears to be minimal. Toxicity to all aquatic organisms (bacteria, invertebrates, fish, and green algae) was observed; however, this activity disappeared with aging of the tire crumb for three months in place in the playground. We conclude that the use of tire crumb in playgrounds results in minimal hazard to children and the receiving environment.
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