Glendale Unified School District in Glendale, CA, are currently weighing the pros and cons of continuing to use recycled tire rubber, or crumb rubber, in their synthetic turf fields. Their synthetic turf fields were first installed about ten years ago. But when crumb began to receive media attention with regard to its potential health hazards, the parents of the children playing in the synthetic turf fields began to voice their concerns to the school district about the presence of the crumb rubber.
Some alternatives to crumb rubber reviewed were cryogenic crumb rubber and coconut shells. Cryogenic crumb rubber, which is crumb rubber plus a sealant, which is twice as expensive as non-cryogenic crumb rubber. On the other hand, even coconut shell, an organic material, is purported to pose a risk to players because of its conduciveness to mold growth.
Glendale's school officials paid for tests, which are being conducted right now, on crumb rubber, and the results will be publicized at the next board meeting. It is unclear what the nature of the tests is, or whether the results will be conclusive enough to serve as a basis on which to make decisions, as crumb rubber testing is in itself a subject of controversy right now.
However, from the statements made by the board members, it seems that they are hopeful that the results of the tests will be positive enough to allow them to continue using synthetic turf with crumb rubber as a standard combination of materials for public schools.