ISRI and the Tire & Rubber Division have had a lot going on this summer. In July, ISRI held its Annual Summer “Fly-in,” where our members get an opportunity to visit their House and Senate members on Capitol Hill. This year, we advocated for transportation and infrastructure policies that would modernize our infrastructure. As tire recyclers, our primary focus was on educating policy makers about the many benefits of rubberized asphalt, and other civil engineering applications for recycled rubber. While our meetings were generally positive, it was clear that getting any meaningful action will require a lot of work. It is hardly news that things do not move quickly in Congress, so these efforts take repeated visits both in Washington and in your districts. We must develop these relationships and give them the confidence that ISRI and its members should be considered as their primary source of information. If needed, ISRI has many resources to assist you in setting up facility tours or meetings in your area.
And since we all know that a lot of what impacts our businesses happens at the state level, we move on to the next big effort this summer of 2019. I wrote this message while in Nashville, TN attending the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Annual Summit. In attendance were thousands of legislators from all 50 states. ISRI and our ISRI Chapters sponsored a luncheon and a full-scale exhibit on recycling across all of our commodities. We leveraged this opportunity to meet with local representatives and staff in a fairly informal setting, and to help them understand what we do, how many jobs we support, and how vital we are to their communities and constituents. The Southeast Chapter did an excellent job as our host this year, and our members were there in force.
Finally, and very close to home for our Tire & Rubber members, there have been a couple of significant developments related to the Crumb Rubber Infill issue. After nearly 5 years of battling the false narrative about the safety of our product, and more than three years since the EPA / CPSC / CDC began to study the issue, the EPA has completed Part 1 of their Tire Crumb Rubber Characterization. I am pleased to say that while the study lacks an exposure component, all things considered, this report is favorable for our industry. Quoted directly from the EPA Report: “The presence of a substance does not directly equate with human exposure. While there are many chemicals associated with recycled tire crumb rubber, [EPA] laboratory experiments suggest that the amount of chemicals available for exposure through release into the air and simulated biological fluids is relatively low.”
There was also a study released by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), commissioned by CalOEHHA. Quoted here: “There was no evidence of toxicity in mice from ingestion of crumb rubber. Analysis of the animals’ blood and urine showed that internal levels of crumb rubber chemicals were very low. No health problems were observed.”
We still have a long way to go; there is more to come from the EPA, the CPSC will be issuing a report on Rubber Mulch, and CalOEHHA continues their study in California, which is expected sometime in 2020. You are all aware of the significant resources and energy that ISRI and many of our members have put into this issue. We will continue to support any research into the safety of our product, but also remain vigilant in making sure that false claims do not harm our business.
I wish you a terrific end to your summer, and I hope to see you soon.
Tire & Rubber Division Chair