I recently submitted a letter to Parsippany Focus asking what due diligence the Board of Education had conducted with regard to the questions that have been raised about the potential health safety issues that may be associated with the Board’s decision to replace the grass football fields at Parsippany Hills High School and Parsippany High School with turf fields made up of rubber tire crumbs. To my knowledge, there has been no response from Board President Fran Orthwein and/or Vice President Frank Neglia which leads me to believe that either they and the rest of the Board of Education did not conduct the required due diligence to ensure the safety of Parsippany’s children or that they have information that they are afraid to share.
While we wait to learn if and when the Parsippany Troy Hills BOE will respond, it is important to note that on October 23rd, Republican and Democratic members of the House of Representative’s Commerce Committee escalated the issue by submitting a list of 10 questions to the Environmental Protection Agency directing that Agency to determine if it believed that turf fields constructed with ground up car and truck tires are safe for children to play on. One of the questions asked if chemical substances in chrome rubber present a hazard to human health. Another question asked if the incidence of cancer for persons who play on fields treated with crumb rubber was higher than the general population. The EPA has been directed to respond to Congress by November 6th.
With Congressional Republicans and Democrats now united on getting to the bottom of this safety issue hopefully parents across America will soon get the answers that we all need. With the millions of dollars that have been spent in Parsippany to replace our grass fields with crumb rubber turf, hopefully we will learn that safety issues do not exist. However, should potential safety issues be identified by the EPA hopefully, the Board of Education will do what it has failed to so far to do which is to act in an open and honest way.