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Wood mulch is a popular surface for playgrounds. It's frequently under the swings and the jungle health club where kids play and where in some cases kids fall. Wood mulch is chosen over the majority of and has actually been checked to be safe. Is it the safest alternative for kids? Find more info what are natural palygrounds made of here.
Wood mulch, frequently described as Engineered Wood Fiber, is a certified product that fulfills all appropriate guidelines, with certifications from the ASTM, CPSC and IPEMA. Wood mulch is tested to be safe. It's checked when it's brand new, leveled to the best depth, unfrozen, and untouched. It may be safe in the laboratory-- but children play on playgrounds, not in labs. What happens when mulch gets wet and compacted? What happens when that fresh, damp, mulch dries out after being in the sun? It may not satisfy the safety standards.
The wood fiber surfaces might come from recycled wood product. The problem is, wood pallets are made from treated wood which has actually shown to be harmful.
The sites of the biggest wood mulch makers in the US are revealing. They have a long list of disclaimers.
Some direct quotes: According to Zeager.com, "During freezing conditions, all our playground surface areas will naturally be less resistant, especially with poor drain. Restrict usage of the location appropriately.”
Fibar.com states: "Should there be moisture retention in the Fibar System, it will certainly freeze when the temperature drops below the freezing mark. Kindly check your surface area frequently in winter season weather condition. When the surface area is frozen, the effect depletion properties of Fibar are lost and for this reason, the backyard ought to not be used.”
They suggest playgrounds be shut down for months on end? Children do not refrain from using the playground in winter.
One would think that in wood mulch would be safe in the heat of summer season. But wood mulch was discovered to be dangerous in the dry summertime season also. The manufacturers state that "during a dry season, it may be needed to wet the surface of the wood fiber with water in order to ensure enough moisture material to withstand flammability.”
Amerimulch.com describes that spontaneous combustion of mulch is not a secret; it is the natural outcome of chain reactions within natural materials. A CBS news article reported about a playground at a school in Arlington, Texas that spontaneously combusted due to smoldering wood mulch.
Thankfully no children were using the playground. One might always choose to apply a fire retardant however then it's not a natural, chemical-free option.
Wood mulch is simply not proper for outside use-- by the makers' own admission.
Zeager.com, a leading wood mulch manufacturer's site, exposes that "Nuisance molds are not unusual in wood fiber and wood mulch products. When the wood is wet, bacteria quickly colonize and the fungi feed on these bacteria which may lead to slime molds, mushrooms, and so on.
A more secure playground surface to think about is rubber. It is available in strong, put rubber, loose fill, and rubber mulch type. It makes play grounds soft and cushiony-- as a playground should feel.
Rubber is the safest method to go, according to research by the EPA supports this assertion. Rubber surface areas have been proven, even in laboratory tests to have the greatest shock absorbency level of any emerging material.
Rubber surface areas don't freeze and solidify. They do not keep unsafe heat levels in the summer season. They are much heavier than wood mulch, and resist displacement.
Frequently rubber surface areas are made of 100 % recycled rubber, conserving numerous tons' worth of rubber from winding up in the landfills. The safest alternative for children is likewise the most environmentally accountable one. The Obama household picked a recycled rubber item for the playground at the White House-- a fitting testimonial to the green age where we live.
In years past, play areas were commonly set straight into the concrete. That caused hundreds of thousands of serious injuries. Today most play areas have some sort of safety emerging. Still, over 500 kids end up in the emergency clinic each day as an outcome of playground injuries.
We can do better. We have much better alternatives. It's time to move on to a more secure play environment that rubber can offer.