Monday, June 30, 2014

Artificial Turf Debate Part 1: Concerns on artificial turf field

A New Jersey community debates the installation of artificial turf.  Part 1 is a letter from a parent.
I would say with confidence that the majority of us moved to Ho-Ho-Kus because it's a great family town with a wonderful school system. We obviously want the best for our kids, and although the desire to improve the school field and track is clearly well-intentioned, I am encouraging all of us to think about what is really best for our children as we consider replacing a huge natural grass field with a massive chemical field. 
Pros: It looks nice. It's low maintenance and a greater number of games can be played with fewer cancellations. 
Cons: It is a major heat hazard. Temperatures climb much higher than they do on grass and have been measured as high as 160-170 degrees on a warm day. Brigham Young University once recorded a temperature of 200 degrees on its synthetic field. Using (an excessive amount of) water to cool the field only works for a short period of time, as surfaces quickly reheat. Any temperature over 122 degrees can injure or burn skin in less than 10 minutes. Doctors claim that it can take only 2 seconds to burn skin on solid surfaces over 140 degrees. Other serious risks include dehydration and heat stroke. 
Additional thoughts: Who will constantly monitor the temperature of the field and how will the high temps be dealt with? How will incredibly high temperatures affect the adjacent playground and blacktop, and even possibly the school building? Also, how can children possibly perform well in PE or with their sports teams at these unhealthy temperatures? 
Kids who play on these artificial turf fields have an increased exposure to hazardous chemicals, some of which are carcinogens (cancer-causing agents), and according to Dr. D. Barry Boyd, Oncologist at Greenwich Hospital and the Yale Cancer Center, "these childhood exposures to environmental carcinogens may add to lifelong risk of cancer as well as the exposures to the many respiratory irritants and toxicants found off-gassing from these fields." Remember that athletes tend to have high ventilation rates while on these artificial fields. Increased temperatures and volume of people increase the off-gassing process.
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1 comment:

  1. WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.


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