Old Tire Mulch removed from Boston playgrounds


By David Taber December 3, 2010

SOUTHWEST CORRIDOR-Citing maintenance concerns, the state Department of Conservation has decided to replace the controversial "recycled rubber mulch" ground-cover-made from old tires-with woodchips at three Jamaica Plain, MA playgrounds along the Southwest Corridor Park.

"They were actually out there taking the mulch out this morning," Abigail Hykin, a member of JP Moms, an advocacy group that launched a campaign against the rubber mulch last summer, told the Gazette Nov. 16. New playgrounds at Amory Street, New Minton Street and Williams Street along the corridor were installed last spring and the rubber mulch groundcover was put in at that time.

The JP Moms group's efforts to get rid of the rubber mulch were based on fears that regular exposure to volatile organic compounds in the tires might have long-term negative health impacts. Some also said that exposure to the tires caused them to have respiratory issues, and complained that the light-weight material is easily spread throughout the park and carried home in children's' clothes.

"We're thrilled that DCR listened to the community and did the right thing. Now everyone can enjoy these playgrounds, including those of us with asthma, latex allergies, chemical sensitivities and everyone who just wants to limit their children's exposure to environmental toxins," Audrey White, another member of JP Moms, told the Gazette in an e-mail.