Playing Ball Just Got a Little Safer

Thanks to research and legal action by the Center for Environmental Health, millions of children who play on fields of artificial turf will no longer be exposed to potentially hazardous levels of lead. A 2008 CEH expose showing high levels of lead in many varieties of artificial turf culminated this week with legal settlements that call for strict limits on lead made by the leading turf companies.

In 2008, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services reported on their testing of artificial turf fields, concluding that for children exposed to lead from artificial turf, “the potential for lead poisoning to occur is plausible.”  That summer the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warned that “As the turf ages and weathers, lead is released in dust that could then be ingested or inhaled, and the risk for harmful exposure increases.”

So CEH took action, testing hundreds of samples of turf and alerting parents and schools of the risks. We also alerted the turf makers and the California Attorney General. In September 2008, CEH and the Attorney General filed lawsuits to end the health threat from lead in turf.

The legal agreements announced today are with Field Turf, the nation’s leading maker and installer of artificial turf fields, and Beaulieu Group, the leading supplier of indoor/outdoor grass to retailers including Home Depot, Ace Hardware and others. Last year, AstroTurf became the first company to agree to legally binding limits on lead in turf. All three companies have agreed to limit lead in their products to no more than 50 parts per million (ppm); federal law calls for no more than 300 ppm of lead in children’s products.

Learn more about the settlements and CEH’s work to end lead threats to children from turf in our press release today.