To the Editor:
My thanks go to the Connection Newspapers and Jay Spiegel for his letters to the Editor such as “Avoid Stone Dust Surface”, August 2014, for providing the information on the Off Leash Dog Area (OLDA) at the Westgrove Park. Westgrove Park is bounded on the south by Wake Forest Drive and on the west by Fort Hunt Road and Mr. Spiegel has noted in the March 5-11, 2015 edition of the Mount Vernon Gazette that PACK has new leadership. It is important that PACK, the sponsor group for the OLDA, remain steadfast on its historic position of “No Stone Dust” for the Westgrove OLDA. So often new incoming leadership forgets or does not accept the foundation positions that a group is built upon.
Stone dust should never have been chosen for the surfaces of the OLDA parks. Its reasonable cost and very low maintenance make it attractive for such applications as the OLDA. However, stone dust is what its name implies, it is finely ground up stone (silica) which is widely known for its serious hazards (Silicosis) to both humans and animals. The OSHA, EPA, and Centers for Disease Control all emphasize the importance of avoiding any environment that contains airborne stone dust. The effect of silicosis over a period of time is life ending caused by such diseases as lung cancer, tuberculosis, COPD, and others.
PACK should keep its original “No Stone Dust” pledge. They should also press the Fairfax County Park Authority to add signage to all the OLDA’s that warn users of the hazards of stone dust.