Home > Lankville Action News: YES!, Zach Keebaugh Investigations > Is Rubber Mulch Safe? A Zach Keebaugh Investigation

Is Rubber Mulch Safe? A Zach Keebaugh Investigation

By Zachary Keebaugh

By Zachary Keebaugh

The public playground in the Central Lankville Showy Suburban Area has everything a kid could want. You got swings, a helicopter, some ropes, a little barn. But it’s got something else too. A surface made of rubber mulch. That’s right– rubber mulch.


Van Griese, a local contractor, laid the rubber mulch himself. “It’s the latest in safety surfacing,” he told me, as we walked slowly together by a lake. “You got shredded rubber from old tires and when the kiddies fall over, it’s more pillowy than say, some mulch or some rocks, god forbid.”

I stopped him.

“Is it safe?” I probed.

“Of course, it’s safe. Why wouldn’t it be?”

“Don’t know, man. I heard there might be some chemicals in there, some shit that gets all whacked when it gets hot. Vapors, man. Volatile substances.”

Griese just stared at me. He was clearly unnerved.


Fun Playground....or HELL?

Fun Playground….or HELL?

Lisa Adiron-Chairs is a mother of two. “I really struggled to keep my daughter from putting the tire crumbs in her mouth. Plus, they would come back from the park just covered in black. Skin, clothes, everything. I just thought, this can’t be healthy.”

“Yo, it’s just cut-up tires. So what if they eat a few tires over the course of a lifetime? You don’t even want to know the shit I’ve eaten,” I remarked.

“But we know they put chemicals in tires. We have to take responsibility as parents to limit the health risks. We need more information.”


The Lankville government, however, is sending parents mixed messages about this rubber mulch junk.

“We have done several dozen studies and found no negative health risks,” noted government toxicologist Lando Curry.

“Don’t give me that weak-ass shit,” I countered. “Your studies are limited and insufficient to establish conclusively that rubber mulch surfaces are safe.”

“Look, the Agency for Lankville Woods and Copses acknowledges that more studies need to be made but all of our product safety agencies recommend and promote rubber mulch. And the Lankville Playground Layout Subcommittee wholeheartedly endorses rubber mulch– why, we even have a rubber mulch playground at the Presidential Palace.”

“Sounds like you got a lot of important committees. Be a shame if anything happened to any of them,” I noted, trying to sound as gangster as possible.

“Are you threatening the government?” Curry countered.

I backed down right away. I don’t want to get that god damn rap pinned on me.


This reporter decided to go undercover. I talked my way into an Eastern Lankville rubber manufacturer and snagged an interview with salesman William Head.

“I want to buy a lot of rubber mulch to put on playgrounds,” I said. “I want the cheapest tires you got. Long as they’re safe. Are they safe?”

“They are,” said Head. I kept staring at his little nametag. “William Head”. Christ, I was having a hard time not laughing. Also, I was high.

“So, there’s no carcinogenic chemicals in there, right?”

Finally, Head admitted that there were a couple of poisons in there but they were so minimal as to pose no risk.

“You’ve got some things that cause cancer, but you’re not going to be sleeping every night on these surfaces,” he said.

“How do you know? Maybe that’s what I had in mind,” I countered. He shut up for a bit then.


Rubber mulch or no rubber mulch, it seems that new findings are needed.

“Of course, we will carefully review all new findings,” said Curry. “Our highest priority is protecting the public. However, we do not plan to commission further studies because we do not view rubber mulch as an issue at this time.”

For now, concerned mothers like Lisa Adiron-Chairs will have to take their kids elsewhere.

“They play in a field now,” she noted. “As long as the government isn’t going to be sure about these tires, they’ll just have to play in a field.”

Zach Keebaugh won a trophy for this report.

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