Fields are Safe? – Synthetic Athletic Fields are No Longer Deemed Health Hazards

Quwan Spears, Sacramento Bee, August 1, 2008

The Associated Press reported Wednesday children are not at risk for lead
exposure from synthetic athletic fields, according to a report from the U.S.
Consumer Product Safety Commission.

"A variety of artificial turf products were evaluated for risk exposure
to lead, and the bottom line is, parents should not be concerned about harmful
levels of lead in artificial turf," said Julie Vallese, a commission
spokeswoman. "Go out and play."

The CPSC announcement comes a week after officials in New Jersey closed at least three FieldTurf
athletic fields, pending testing for potential health problems.

So far, local area football coaches have not experienced problems with
synthetic fields.

"We've had zero problems," Grant coach Mike Alberghini said.
"In fact, no one has contacted us or anyone at our school district to let
us know if there was a problem."

Added Rio Linda coach Mike Morris: "The only problem we've had is how
to better use the machine to fluff up the turf. In terms of it being a health
issue, we've have not learned of any issues."

One group, however, is not so sure. The Center for Environmental Health in California reported last
month it discovered extreme amounts of lead in several brands of artificial
turf.

"My quick take is that the CPSC study is fatally flawed and we're going
to continue to pursue our case because lead is a threat to children playing on
artificial field," Charles Margulis, a spokesman for the center, told the
Associated Press.

Turf manufacturers have insisted their products are safe. Rick Doyle,
president of the Synthetic Turf Council, an industry trade group, has said the
lead in turf is encapsulated in the blades and neither leaches out nor becomes
airborne.

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