Kids playing on dangerous turf that could cause cancer

Kids playing on dangerous turf that could cause cancer

Lead researcher at University wants a moratorium on installing all artificial turf fields until more testing is done. Schools are refusing to let theirs be tested even though they have been shown to be harmful and could cause cancer. 

At least 10 studies since 2007 — including those by the safety commission and the EPA — have found potentially harmful lead levels in turf fibers and in rubber crumbs, USA TODAY found.

Feds promote artificial turf as safe despite proven dangers

We all have or know a child who plays at one of the thousands of playgrounds at schools and parks around the country . But what many people don’t realize is those artificial turf “grass” playgrounds they play on (or do sports on at schools)  have been deemed unsafe and can be dangerous to their health.  From the breaking piece on USA Today about the dangers of artificial turf says this:

Lead levels high enough to potentially harm children have been found in artificial turf used at thousands of schools, playgrounds and day-care centers across the country, yet two federal agencies continue to promote the surfacing as safe, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

But they’re only talking about the astro turf. They also bring up recycled tires which are used on countless playgrounds that even I’ve played on.

The growing use of turf fields layered with rubber crumbs has raised health concerns centered mostly on whether players face increased risk of injury, skin infection or cancer. The U.S. has more than 11,000 artificial turf fields, which can cost $1 million to replace.

But largely overlooked has been the possible harm to young children from ingesting lead in turf materials, and the federal government’s role in encouraging their use despite doing admittedly limited research on their health safety.

Lead is a well-known children’s hazard that over time can cause lost intelligence, developmental delays, and damage to organs and the nervous system.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission, charged with protecting children from lead in consumer products, has promoted turf-and-rubber fields for nearly seven years with a website headline declaring them “OK to install, OK to play on.” A news release says, “Young children are not at risk from exposure to lead in these fields,” even though the commission found potentially hazardous lead levels in some turf fibers and did not test any rubber crumbs, which are made from recycled tires that contain roughly 30 hazardous substances including lead.

This really boggles my mind. It gets worse though. Turns out the commission admitted they only tested a handful of fields, and many schools (49 out of 50!  in New Jersey) wouldn’t let epidemiologists come in to test them. Experts say they fear they’re expensive to test. Basically they would rather chance the kids  potentially gettin cancer than play to switch the astro turf out (PS oh and what ever happened to playing on real grass like I vaguely recall as a child) from the article:

The commission has acknowledged shortcomings in its 2008 study, which spokesman Scott Wolfson says “was just a handful of fields and was not representative of the full scope of fields across the country.”

The Environmental Protection Agency has promoted the use of rubber crumbs in athletic fields and on playground surfaces since 1995 to help create markets for recycled car and truck tires.But the EPA didn’t investigate the potential toxicity until 2008 and now says in a statement that “more testing needs to be done” to determine the materials’ safety.

“We’re using your children as part of the poison squad,” said Bruce Lanphear, a leading researcher on lead poisoning at Simon Fraser University in Canada, who suggests a moratorium on installing artificial-turf fields until their safety is proved.

I highly encourage you to read the entire piece on USA today. It’s not often, but there appears to be a real coverup here (involving politics and money and corrupt government agencies) and children (or those who play sports on artificial turfs) are the ones who are going to pay- perhaps with their lives. Again, I don’t understand why kids can’t ground and play on the actual earth, outdoors in the grass like we did when we were kids playing sports.