Angela Delli Santi, USA Today, June 26, 2008

N.J. – Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.,
sent a letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission on Thursday that urged
the agency to expand its investigation into possibly hazardous lead levels in
artificial turf.

Menendez also asked the agency for recommendations on how
parents can protect children who play on artificial grass fields, lawns and

The CPSC, which has investigated lead in children's toys
and household products, did not return messages seeking comment.

Menendez made his request a week after the federal Centers
for Disease Control issued an advisory recommending that worn, frayed sports
fields containing nylon fibers be tested for lead.

The CDC said no cases of elevated blood lead levels in
children have been linked to artificial turf. Health officials remain concerned
because exposure to lead is cumulative, and children are especially susceptible.

Lead can cause brain damage and other illnesses,
particularly in children.

Turf manufacturers insist 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 does not leach out or become airborne.

A California
environmental watchdog group reported this week it had found excessive amounts
of lead in several brands of artificial turf. It warned some of the biggest
manufacturers and sellers that it would sue unless they recall or reformulate
their products.

The report from the Center for Environmental Health
followed New Jersey
health officials' finding of unacceptably high lead levels in some synthetic

New Jersey health
officials first discovered elevated lead levels at an athletic field in Newark last fall, then
found similarly high levels in two other nylon-based fields.