Artifical Turf Makers Tout Safety Report; House Member Skeptical; (USA Today, Jul 31 2008)
Michael McCarthy, USA Today, July 31, 2008
While the artificial turf industry trumpeted a Consumer
Product Safety Commission report Wednesday that children are "not at
risk" from lead in its products, a U.S. congresswoman expressed
skepticism about the report and said she intends to continue reviewing the
AstroTurf's marketers said they were "pleasantly
surprised" at the speed with which the CPSC completed its evaluation.
"It's helpful when a federal agency confirms what you've been telling
people," said Jon Pritchett, chief executive officer of General Sports
But the turf wars are not over. Politicians and consumer
watchdogs predict the next flashpoint will be the potential health and
environmental hazards from recycled tire rubber, or crumb rubber, that
functions as artificial dirt between plastic blades of grass on many fields.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., questioned the effectiveness
of the CPSC's investigation, which also led the commission to call for
voluntary standards that would preclude the use of lead in future products. She
added she will continue pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to examine
"Given this is the same (CPSC) that oversaw record
recalls in 2007, I have concerns about the conclusions drawn in their
evaluation," DeLauro said in a statement to USA TODAY. "It is particularly
disconcerting that at the same time they are saying the synthetic fields are
safe, they are urging that voluntary guidelines be developed. I intend to
further examine this evaluation to determine the best course of action."
While the EPA's "scoping study" hasn't begun,
agency spokesman Dale Kemery confirmed it will cover crumb rubber and turf.
The Center for Environmental Health in Oakland
said the CPSC's "flawed analysis" used a more lenient lead standard
Different states have different regulations, CPSC spokeswoman
Julie Vallese said.
"As a federal agency," she said, "we have
to follow federal standards and guidelines.
"We all have the same goal: removing lead from a