Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Synthetic turf fields kicking up safety concerns

Health experts, activists and parents from Seattle to Chicago to Stamford, Mass. are worried that children may be exposed to chemicals if they inhale or swallow synthetic turf's rubber granules, known as crumb rubber. Some are calling for a moratorium until the issue is more fully studied.
"Rubber tires are made with chemicals that are known carcinogens. The question remains, does that raise the risk for cancer for children? We don't know that," said Dr. Susan Buchanan, associate director of Great Lakes Center for Children's Environmental Health and an assistant professor of public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Read full story. Click here.

Artificial turf creates maintenance headaches

The explosion in artificial turf has created a whole new set of problems for maintenance crews trained in turfgrass -- including the possibility that artificial turf may harbor and transmit drug-resistant staph infections, or MRSA. From hand-held brooms to riding scrubbers, the maintenance requirements for artificial turf can be both varied and expensive. This article recommends that sports field managers be trained in upkeep and sanitization methods of synthetic turf, as well as be part of the decision-making process of switching turfs.
Click here.

Turf Fields: Playing with Kids' Health

Lead is an incredibly pervasive and widespread poison, and there is no known safe level. According to estimates made by Dr. Philip Landrigan, a leading expert at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, we all lost an average of five IQ points if we grew up in postwar America before lead was removed from gasoline. That’s a huge number. And because IQ follows a normal distribution curve, if you look at the very bright cohort above 130 or the challenged cohort below 70, they are decreased and increased by about 50 percent, respectively. This is such a huge effect it could well account for any loss of American competitiveness in the last 50 years. And the rise in special education needs. Or, if you are on the bright side of the curve, it could account for your failure to win that Nobel prize.

This is not a possible, or a future, or a potential effect. It is measurable right here and now. And the effects are permanent. Once poisoned, always dumber. No wonder the federal regulators make such a big deal of it.

And there is lead in most artificial turf athletic fields. It’s been confirmed by private citizens and The Boston Globe in Sudbury and Wayland, along with a number of other towns. Read full story by Tom Sciacca and Guive Mirfendereski, Click here.

Danger Underfoot?

Lead continues to be a dangerous component of synthetic turf.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recognizes 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of
blood as a level of concern. But researchers are concerned that levels as low as 2 micrograms
of lead per deciliter of blood could be a problem.
A study in the peer-reviewed Environmental Health Perspectives in February showed that
children's intellectual functioning at 6 years of age is impaired by blood-lead concentrations
well below 10 micrograms per deciliter. See story in Oregon's Statesman Journal, click here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Citizens Group Files Suit Against San Carlos City Council

The Save San Carlos Parks community group filed suit yesterday in San Mateo Superior Court against the City of San Carlos, challenging the City’s inadequate environmental review of its decision to convert Highlands Park from natural grass to synthetic turf.

“No one wants to go to court over this issue. We proposed a settlement conference to try to find a compromise, but unfortunately the City declined that offer. That left us no choice,” said Greg Harris, a member of Save San Carlos Parks. “In their rush to move forward they have failed to consider the significant adverse impacts on the community.”

Save San Carlos Parks says that a legally adequate environmental review will, among other things, do at least four things:

Evaluate alternative surfaces and compare their impacts or benefits to the City’s synthetic turf proposal.
Analyze the health impact of synthetic turf and crumb rubber on young children.
Address community concerns over the required infrastructure to support the increased traffic and parking.
Analyze the City’s economic viability to support this park over the long run.

Despite facing a $2.7 million budget deficit in the next fiscal year, the City approved a plan to move forward on a field project that will ultimately cost the City $3.7 million.

“Preparation of the required environmental impact report will reveal that this project will exhaust the City’s capital improvement funds for our parks and leave the City unable to maintain this field over the next ten years,” said Daniele Huerta, a member of the Save San Carlos Parks organization. “This project benefits the competitive year-round soccer players in San Carlos, but it would mean the City has no money for the rest of the community.”

Friday, May 8, 2009

"Toxic Turf" airs on CBS-5

Watch Jeffrey Schaub's report on the hazards of synthetic turf, and why California lawmakers are questioning its safety. http://cbs5.com/environment/artificial.turf.fields.2.1004289.html