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Belvedere takes up debate on playground surface amid growing worry

Belvedere resident Carolyn Lund, a member of the city’s Parks and Open Space Committee, took this image of particles from the upper and lower surfaces of pour-in-place matting installed eight years ago at Freitas Park in San Rafael. Lund and other Belvedere residents say the surface contains carcinogens and shouldn’t be installed as part of an approved redesign of Belvedere Community Park.

Nearly a year after approving a Belvedere Community Park playground renovation that includes potentially carcinogenic synthetic rubber materials, the City Council now says “the jury could still be out” and that officials should continue to explore other options.

The council took up the issue at its July 12 teleconference meeting at the behest of a growing number of concerned citizens who claim exposure to chemicals in the approved pour-in-place surface would be hazardous to children. Leading the charge is resident Bill Rothman, who has threatened to force a ballot initiative to remove the rubber surface at Community Park if it’s ever installed.

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