‘Tis the season to refresh the playground.
Thoughts on rubber mulch and why to use an alternative:
#1 The smell! For about the first year, it’s intolerable! Is breathing in rubber stench I mean smell the best we can give our children’s lungs?
#2 Here is a list of what a typical tire is made up of (source: epa.gov), which of these products sound like you want your child playing in them?
- halogenated flame retardants
- methyl ethyl ketone
- methyl isobutyl ketone
- polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
- styrene – butadiene
#3 On a sunny/warm day, mulch temperatures can reach beyond 100 degrees, do you really want your children breathing in the smell of hot decomposing tires or rubber fill as they are called in marketing materials? The smell beyond what is mentioned in number 1 above.
#4 The color of the mulch, particularly the darker colors rubs off and stain clothes and hands. Do you really need to do more laundry?
#5 Oh, you want something other than black (the tires real color), well let’s add some chemical compounds in to dye the decomposing rubber tires and make them pretty, yet toxic. No thank you.
#6 Rubber mulch is highly flammable and difficult to extinguish once it is burning.
#7 Rubber mulch is not non-toxic; it contains a number of metal and organic contaminants with
known environmental and/or human health effects.
#8 Rubber mulch is not as effective as other organic mulch choices in controlling weeds.
#9 Tires are considered by the State of CT to be the leading cause of mosquito breeding grounds other than waterways. West Nile anyone?
#10 Rubber mulch does not decompose and can not easily be moved by a leaf blower. When something like a dirty bandaid or piece of metal is in there, no one can see it.
What alternatives are out there?