Consumer Watchdog Finds Fatal Flaws in CPSC Findings on Artificial Turf

Oakland, CA-The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) is disappointed but not surprised that the Bush CPSC has today released a flawed analysis of the dangers to children from artificial turf. After CEH found other lead threats to children, including high levels of lead in vinyl baby bibs and vinyl children’s lunchboxes, CPSC released similar manipulated test data and misleading statements about the safety of these products. CPSC’s turf analysis uses a lead standard that is 30 times less protective than California law and an approach that was designed for testing arsenic-treated wood that was not developed for use with turf.

“The Bush CPSC is out to lunch on lead in artificial turf,” said Michael Green, Executive Director of CEH. “They could not be trusted to protect children from lead in baby bibs or lunchboxes, and now we see that they can’t be trusted to protect children from lead in turf.”

Despite CPSC’s statements on the “safety” of baby bibs and lunchboxes, both of those industries settled lawsuits brought by CEH under California law, eliminating the lead threat to children by reformulating their products to meet CA standards. CEH will hold turf makers and retailers to the same high standard.

This week, after months of deliberations Congress reached agreement on a CPSC reform bill it will send to Pres Bush. The bill calls for a phase-out of lead in children’s products, ultimately banning lead at levels above 100 ppm. CPSC’s own testing found lead in turf samples at 100 times that level.

Flaws in CPSC’s turf study include:

* The CPSC evaluation is based on the outdated assumption that exposure of 15 micrograms of lead per day is acceptable for children. The California standard is 30 times more protective, and current science suggests that no level of exposure to lead is safe for children. For example, the U.S. Public Health Service states, “No safe blood lead level in children has been determined.”

* The CPSC evaluation does not consider that children will contact turf multiple times while playing, thus making multiple exposures to lead likely.

* The CPSC, based only on what the agency calls “limited hand sampling,” minimizes the potential for children to be exposed to lead, by assuming that children will be exposed to five times less lead than the agency’s protocol actually found.

* The CPSC’s data shows clearly that lead exposure increases dramatically as turf ages. CPSC ignores the problem that exposure estimates from new turf significantly underestimate real-life exposure.

To date, CEH has tested over 150 turf samples, including dozens of samples sent to the nonprofit by concerned parents and other turf customers. By contrast, CPSC’s report shows they tested only 14 samples.