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Aack, EPA Says Playgrounds Not So Safe . . . Maybe

US Playground SafetySo much for going green. The Environmental Protection Agency flip-flopped this week on the safety of that recycled rubber meant to cushion your kid’s hind end when they come flying off the slide at their favorite park.

The EPA has long championed the recyled tires as good for the environment. Not anymore.

The federal agency apparently commissioned a study of several parks that use the rubber last year, the results of which are expected in coming weeks, because of a concern over “lack of information.”

From the AP: “From everything I’ve been able to see, I’m not sure there’s an imminent hazard but it’s something we’re investigating,” said Michael Firestone, EPA’s head of children’s health protection. “It’s critical to take a look at all the data together.”

So get worried but don’t?

The rubber surfaces have been criticized over the years for retaining heat and presenting a burning hazard to tender child skin. But they’re popular with schools and municipalities alike for being green (or at least, recycled) and decreasing maintenance costs. For parents, the “bounce” factor on the rubbery surface has saved many a skinned knee, and it’s splinter free (which can’t be said of all those wood chips).

And New York State health officials have said their studies came up with no concerns for the rubber materials, while the Consumer Product Safety Commission has signed off on lead risks.

We’re blessed with a backyard to play in, so my daughter doesn’t spend much time at the playground anyway. But I can’t say a “maybe there’s a risk” warning is going to keep me from letting her loose on the slides this summer.

I’m not ready to roll out the bubble just yet. How about you?

Image: YahooNews

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