The Toxic Turf Times, Vol. 1
I’ve never been much of an athlete. When I view home videos from my childhood, I am dismayed to see that I spent more time “coaching” my little league soccer teammates as to where an opponent kicked the ball (as if they couldn’t see for themselves) than running after the ball myself.
I’m no athlete, but I can say that I am a connoisseur and overly-obsessed fan of sports. That’s why I go to Cal Football Fan Appreciation Day every year (Go Bears!). The only drawback of this, of course, is that I have to spend two hours standing in line for autographs on artificial turf. I never liked the feeling of the crumb rubber pellets that get in my shoes simply from walking on it.
Little did I know, however, that this mere discomfort isn’t the only thing to be concerned about with artificial turf. In 2008, CEH found high levels of lead in many companies’ older artificial turf installations – in the blades of “grass” themselves. This poses an exposure risk to anyone who plays on turf – whether they are high school or college athletes who play sports on these fields, or young children and toddlers who crawl on turf patches installed at child care centers.
For the past 9 months, CEH has worked extensively to raise awareness of this issue, and has screened samples from over 500 different fields in CA and other parts of the nation. While our screenings indicate that the majority of these fields have no detectable levels of lead, some fields still contain lead.
That’s why we’ve created this short informational video, which outlines ways that you can protect yourself and your children from lead exposure as a result of playing on artificial turf. Please give it a quick viewing, and share it with anyone you know who might benefit from this information – particularly school administrators or child care directors who may have turf at their institutions that kids/athletes play on.
Watch the video below, or at www.ceh.org/turf.
While it may be disturbing to hear that older turf contains lead, the preventative measures you can take to avoid exposure are really quite simple. Be sure to follow them to keep you and your children safe!
And I’ll be sure to continue hooting and hollering at my soccer teammates to take care of the slide-tackling, tripping, and falling themselves – I’ll pass on the bruises, soreness, and lead exposure.