I just spent a few hours weeding around the guerrilla garden plant outside the architecture school in Launceston and started thinking. The garden was planted in tyres, cheap, available and surprisingly successful. But is it safe? I can smell the rubber so is there leaching of chemicals. I just spent a little time reaching on the internet and found the following.
Websites and blogs are numerous which raise the question of safety including the following:
The EPA released an article The Use of Recycled Tire Materials on Playgrounds & Artificial Turf Fields
The report concluded that there appeared to be little long-term risk to human health.However, in August 2007, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station reported the results of a small ($2,000) study it conducted to evaluate tire crumb. The laboratory concluded that “under relatively mild conditions of temperature and leaching solvent, components of crumb rubber produced from tires (i) volatilize into the vapor phase and (ii) are leached into water in contact with the crumbs.” The following compounds are found in tyres:
Interestingly the ABC presented on their website techniques of growing potatoes in tyres, see a fact sheet:re-using old tyres
but in 2010 released the following statement:
Since this story was made, research has suggested that growing potatoes in tyres risks chemical contamination of the edible tubers. The method is no longer recommended. (September 2010)