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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Interesting Article About Safety of "Field Turf"

Shoreline has several "Field Turf" installations. One is at Twin Ponds Park and one is at Shoreline Park next to Shoreline Center. There are also Field Turf treatments proposed for the new Shorewood HS fields.

The Twin Ponds Park fields were paid for by the 2006 Parks Bond project/  The fields are considered better environmentally in many ways , because of the lack of need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. They are also constructed so they are "permeable" to stormwater.
However questions have been raised in the past about what happens to the fields as wear and tear and the elements cause a breakdown of the components of these artificial grass fields. 

This article raises serious questions about the actual safety of Field Turf when exposed to the elements.

From the "Herald of Scotland".

Warning of threat to children posed by artificial grass

17 Oct 2010
Artificial grass can become contaminated after a few years’ use with enough lead to poison children, scientists have warned.
A new study has raised fears for the health of millions of children who use synthetic surfaces worldwide for sports or play, prompting calls for “urgent checks” in the UK.
There are thousands of football, hockey and tennis surfaces made from synthetic turf across the UK. According to sportscotland, there are 232 full-size synthetic playing pitches in Scotland.
US health researchers have discovered that after two to four years or more of wear and tear, some artificial grass can begin to release lead dust. This has caused playing fields in the US being closed down because they were regarded as hazardous.
Lead, a heavy metal, has long been recognised as a potential health danger, and was eliminated from petrol and paint 20 years ago. If it gets into the body, it can cause brain damage, as well as heart disease and cancer.
Synthetic turf can deteriorate to form dust containing lead at levels that may pose a risk to children,
US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Safety limits have been progressively tightened over the years, but some scientists now argue there may be no safe level of lead exposure for children. However, a lead-based pigment has been used to colour fake grass.
The research, by scientists at the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in Atlanta, Georgia, in partnership with health departments in New York, Las Vegas and New Jersey, found lead levels in breach of US legal safety limits at 12 out of 29 tested synthetic surfaces.
Researchers also tested four new artificial turf products and found that two of them exceeded the US statutory lead limit. The lead was found in grass made of nylon, polyethylene and mixtures of the two.
“Synthetic turf can deteriorate to form dust containing lead at levels that may pose a risk to children,” concluded the study, published in this month’s edition of the scientific journalEnvironmental Health Perspectives.
“Given elevated lead levels in turf and dust on recreational fields and in child care settings, it is imperative that a consistent, nationwide approach for sampling, assessment, and action be developed.”
The Sports and Play Construction Association, which represents the synthetic turf industry, has pointed out other US studies that have concluded children are not at risk. “To date, no study has linked turf exposures to elevated childhood lead blood levels,” said the association’s Dr Colin Young.
“In light of these overwhelming findings we have no concerns about the safety of synthetic turf regarding the health risks caused by lead levels for use by children or adults.”
Evergreens UK, one of the UK’s leading stockists of artificial grass, is also confident its products are not dangerous and a spokesman said traces of contamination have only been found in some grasses produced with inferior yarns in the US and Asia.
Sportscotland has promised to examine the new study. “We are aware of the potential contamination issue, but our understanding is that the risk is fairly minimal,” said a spokesman for the Government agency.
But Professor Andrew Watterson, head of the Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group at the University of Stirling, insisted the turf poses dangers.
“The evidence now suggests that there could be significant lead contamination, with ageing and wear and tear, in some types of artificial turfs used in recreational, residential and childcare facilities in the UK,” he said.
“There is a case for urgent checks not only on the imports of artificial turfs but on the condition of such turfs already in place.
“The UK should follow the US example in trying to establish methods to monitor such lead levels and reduce exposures,” he told the Sunday Herald.



  1. Where is the oversight for health related concerns like this? Just like food is inspected, there always needs to be inspections for new non-food materials/substances and technology before they are used.

    And what about the health risks of the wireless microwave radiation from things like cell phones, cell phone towers and laptops? Has anyone actually read an unbiased study on this? I've only seen vague claims of safety made by unreliable sources that benefit from broad use of wireless technology.

    I am especially concerned about possible effects on children that use this technology excessively. As reported in a Washington Free Press article in "08, studies that have come out of Europe(REFLEX studies)found that for each minute a child presses a microwave phone to her/his head, she/he may suffer radiation damage equivalent to approximately 1.1 chest X-rays. For each hour a child uses a transmitting wireless phone or laptop he/she may be exposing his developing brain, eye and gut tissue to radiation damage equivalent to 66.6 chest X-rays.

    A study out of India showed that young adults that used cell phones had nearly 40% of blood and mouth cells taken from cell phone users had DNA damage. The non cell phone control group had only 4% with DNA damage. The one young man who had used his cell for 1-2 hours every day for 2 years had 63% DNA damage.

    Cancer begins when one or more cells become damaged. Also, radiation damage from non-ionizing radiation generally doesn't become manifest until after a latency period of several years.

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  3. There should be more initiatives like this one. Nice post... Thanks!

  4. Great post! I hope you will share more with us. Thank you!

  5. Wow! You are the best. Thank you so much for sharing this invaluable info!
    Smiles to you,