Tuesday, April 22, 2008

QUESTIONS RAISED ABOUT SAFETY OF ASTRO-TURF

STATELINE Bills in Minnesota, New Jersey and New York would bar the installation of additional artificial turf until those states complete health and environmental studies on the ground-up tires used for the increasingly popular surfaces. Bills in California and Connecticut call for studies to determine the health and environmental effects of synthetic turf. A proposal in New York City would rip out all the existing artificial fields as well as ban new ones.

The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission gave a boost to those concerned with safety when it announced approval of a study on lead levels released from artificial grass. The study is in response to a request from New Jersey state health regulators who closed fields at The College of New Jersey in Ewing and Frank Sinatra Park in Hoboken after samples of synthetic turf showed high levels of lead, a known neurotoxin. . .

At the current growth rate, the turf council estimates that more than 124 million square feet of artificial turf will be installed in 2009, as the industry targets athletic fields at the more than 45,000 colleges, high schools and middle schools in the United States. Most of the synthetic turf varieties now being used use crumb-rubber from waste tires, sometimes mixed with sand. . .

Grassroots opponents across the country charge that synthetic turf may cause more environmental damage than real grass, and they raise concerns that children are being exposed to harmful chemicals.

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