Sunday, March 29, 2009

Artificial Turf Companies Successfully Lobbied CPSC to Not Classify Turf as a "Children's Product"

The Synthetic Turf Council and FieldTurfTarkett successfully lobbied the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) last May to make sure that their product, artificial turf, became excluded from the testing that is required of all products having to do with children: the requirement to get tested for lead levels.
Transcript of the meeting:
Days after that meeting, May 15, 2008, we read a letter from Mr. Doyle, President of the Synthetic Turf Council, to CPSC Commissioner Moore, which reads in part,“We are particularly appreciative of your admonition to ensure that our product does not become categorized as a "children's product" within the meaning of eventual conference agreement on H.R. 4040. We have taken your comments to heart and are in the process of communicating our concerns to members of the conference committee.”
Why did the artificial turf industry work so hard to avoid being labeled a ‘children’s product?’ If artificial turf were to be classified as a ‘children’s product,’ lead levels would have to meet stringent standards. Turf samples would be required to be tested to verify that they met the standards. The testing would have to be conducted at independent CPSC-certified labs. Now that will not happen. Full story, click here.
So this means that synthetic turf is not suitable for children, right?

Lead from artificial turf rubber granules can be absorbed by gastric fluids

The recent University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)-School of Public Health study found that, “when children or athletes ingest the tiny rubber granules in synthetic turf, it is likely that a significant portion of the lead in the granules will be absorbed by their bodies’ gastric fluids.”
Focusing on the ‘new’ generation of artificial turf, the turf made of tire crumbs, this study was lead by Dr. Junfeng Zhang, associate dean and professor of environmental and occupational health at the UMDNJ-School of Public Health. The study examined lead levels in rubber granules from four parks in NYC, and simulated digestive tract absorption in two of the samples. The result? Even though the samples had relatively low concentrations of lead in the rubber granules, substantial amounts of lead were absorbed into synthetic gastric juices. And, as you know, health professionals know that even the tiniest amount of lead in the system will affect the health and cognitive ability of children. The findings appeared in the November/December 2008 issue of the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.
So, when your older child brings home those tire crumbs, your younger children at home will be able to ingest them too. Click here.

Artificial Turf: Heat Islands

Hot enough for you? Well, get ready for summer, because as our natural grass playing fields are replaced with artificial turf, the temperatures will be rising. Why?
Because artificial turf fields are well known for their great ability to trap heat, unlike natural sod, which actually cools our planet, and our neighborhoods. Artificial turf creates ‘heat islands’ with temperatures of up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. But don’t take my word for it; here’s what Dr. Stuart Gaffin, a professor at Columbia University has found out in his studies. Gaffin, an Associate Research Scientist at that university’s Center for Climate Systems Research, initially began his studies researching how trees and parks cool the city. In his research he noticed an odd phenomenon; heat islands, which he initially assumed were caused by large buildings. He looked further, and lo and behold, the ‘heat islands’ were caused by artificial turf.

NASA Satellite Photo, August 14, 2002, New York City, shows heat islands, the red squares at left. What caused them? The photo on the right shows the lower left to be a building and rooftop. And to the right? You guessed it,an artificial turf playing field. Thanks to our Parks Master Plan, if your County Council members vote to put artificial turf at Highlands Park, soon nearly ALL the natural sod playing fields in our public parks will be replaced with artificial turf.

So crank up the A/C folks, it’s going to be a long, hot summer.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Chemical Commonly Used In Rubber Product Manufacture May Cause Cancer

A chemical commonly used in the manufacture of rubber products may cause cancer in workers regularly exposed to it, suggests research published ahead of print in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Medical News Today, Click here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

San Carlos Youth Advisory Council Votes Against the Installation of Synthetic Turf

March 11, 2009, San Carlos, CA—In its first consideration of the controversial synthetic turf issue, the San Carlos Youth Advisory Council, a body that represents middle school and high-school age children in the city, voted against replacing the Highlands Park surface with artificial turf.

The nationally recognized San Carlos Youth Advisory Council is appointed by the City Council as an advisory board. The Youth Council voted 5 to 4 Wednesday night to recommend that the City Council not install synthetic turf at Highlands Park.

“This one project would exhaust the city’s capital improvement funds for all the parks, youth center, and senior center,” said Kevin Harris, San Carlos Youth Advisory member who voted with the majority. “Highlands Park is in better condition than virtually any other field in the city. I think the Youth Advisory Council would like to see the money spent on less expensive projects that have a broader benefit to the community.”

"The myth for the past six years in this city is that this project is for the kids,” said Daniele Huerta a resident of San Carlos and member of “Save San Carlos Parks.” “Well, the kids have spoken, and I hope the politicians who appointed them will listen. At a cost of at least $1.5M, coupled with environmental and health concerns, synthetic turf benefits only a small handful of year round athletes. In these times of tight budgetary constraints, synthetic turf is not in the city's overall best interest."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Synthetic Fields Require Irrigation Too

Artificial turf runs tens of degrees hotter than natural grass. Artificial turf takes maintenance, which includes application of antimicrobial agents and cleansers to the surface. So much for the promise of the “low cost” turf! Many of us also have know for a while that while the plastic flower in a vase does not require watering, artificial turf fields do! Water cools the surface, cuts down on silica and other dust, and washes out the harmful bacteria and other nasty stuff that gets left behind by man and beast. A recent TV news story by KUSI-TV (San Diego) highlights the issue. Click here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

National Public Radio Airs "Playing With Lead"

Station KQED today aired a story, "Playing with Lead," exploring the high lead levels in many synthetic turf fields, and the cumulative effects of lead exposure on the central nervous system and brain development of children.

Experts Weigh in on Potential Dangers of Artificial Turf Fields

Burn injuries that have increased risk of infection, exposure to a myriad of toxins in the crumb rubber that are then carried off the field and into homes with small children are causing parents to worry about the wide scale use of synthetic turf fields. Click here.