PJ BLOGGER

In our case in Ridgewood, the field at Maple Park raises no more concern over lead exposure than the average person’s back yard in the Village

In Uncategorized on September 8, 2008 at 12:52 am

I am not sure what point you are trying to make (your apparent sarcasm makes your intent unclear). Some of your comments are inaccurate. Lead can be absorbed by the stomach when ingested. In the case of the small amounts of lead in the colored dye, which is encapsulated in the fibers used in the latest generation of FieldTurf fields (Maple Field), several points must be kept in mind.

First, as pointed out in an earlier post, while anything may be theoretically possible, in actual practice it would be impossible to consume enough of the fibers to reach a level of lead exposure that would approach a level of concern. Furthermore the fibers are not loose and are not easily removable from the field in any quantity. The amount of fibers needed to reach 100lbs is hundreds of square feet of turf. One would need to mow the turf with a lawn mower and and collect the cuttings in a bag and then proceed to eat the clippings.

Secondly, in the unrealistic event that a massive amount of turf is consumed by a small child, the amount lead contained in the fibers is “virtually undetectable” and is encapsulated in the fiber. Thus, it is widely concluded that the fibers would pass through the digestive system too quickly for any lead to be absorbed by the child’s stomach. Keep in mind, the the state of NJ declared that lead exposure through ingestion may only be a concern for children under 50lbs and (on designs like FieldTurf’s) skin contact with the surface posed no apparent risk.

Thirdly, the manufacturers have been very open and and cooperative on this matter. The EPA has even partnered with FieldTurf (the manufacturer of the field at Maple Park). Each manufacturer uses a slightly different design and each manufacturer’s product must be evaluated on its own merit. Blanket statements like that made by California Deputy Atty. Gen. Dennis A. Ragen… “as it (the turf fiber) ages, it forms more dust and could contain levels of lead that are more than 20 times what’s allowed by Proposition 65”, are misinformed and highly misleading. The fact is that several manufacturers have proactively sought to source dyes that contain no lead in recent years. The levels of lead on newer fields is often more attributable to normal dust in the air than dye in the fibers. Such was the case in recent testing at Maple Field, which is now a couple of years old.

Finally, your statement that “no one has even calculated skin absorption or the dust inhaled” is false. There are many studies on the rate of lead absorption through direct contact with the skin and the lead particulate inhalation. It is partially from this data that acceptable EPA and HUD testing standards were adopted. Since lead particulate can be found in the air we breathe every day, the question is how these turf products compare to the acceptable safety standards that have been established. This is the reason such standards were established. In our case in Ridgewood, the field at Maple Park raises no more concern over lead exposure than the average person’s back yard in the Village.

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  1. What are those kids here posting on this Blog? Don’t they have something else to do?

    Seriously…

  2. Why is there any lead in the first place? Is there not a means to manufacture lead free turf? Remember physiologically children are not adults. Growing brains/nervous systems can be altered tremendously by small exposures to these compounds. Given the history of lead in this country and its devastating effects on children it is simply intolerable to have it on ball fields with tumbling kids. Shame on those turf companies.

  3. Actually, the lead comes from the commercially available dye that colors the polyethylene or nylon turf fibers. Be careful not to jump conclusions about the irresponsibility of the turf companies.

    Over the past couple of years, most turf companies, lead by FieldTurf, have voluntarily and aggressively sought to eliminate all lead from their products.

    FieldTurf re-affirmed their commitment in this regard following July’s “conclusive clean bill of health given to the synthetic turf industry by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).”

    FieldTurf stated, “as the leader in the industry and the company that invented next generation artificial turf, we have reduced lead levels in our turf products over the past few years. In fact, our newer products have trace levels of lead and have been widely accepted as the standard in safety by customers all over the world. We are delighted that the CPSC has concluded there is no link between lead in synthetic turf and health risk and to support the Commission’s call for voluntary standards. FieldTurf commits to our ongoing industry leadership by driving efforts to develop industry standards and accelerating a company target to eliminate lead in our fields.”

    On July 30, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that there was no health risk to young children playing on synthetic fields and that parents should not be concerned about harmful levels of lead in artificial turf. FieldTurf officials noted that the CPSC’s findings were inline with those released earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control, while other distinguished state departments of health have supported this safety profile.

    FieldTurf further stated, “while we have always believed our polyethylene fiber fields to be safe, and when tested with the CDC and CPSC endorsed wipe test our fields have uniformly registered lead levels below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) strict limits, at the request of our customers we have made lead free fields our goal for some time now. We see our sports surfaces as part of the world’s ecological system and make every effort to ensure that our activities respect the environment.”

    When announcing their findings, Julie Vallese, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, said “the turf poses no health risk…children should go outside and play (on the fields).”

    We should keep in mind that test on the FieldTurf surface in Ridgewood showed lead levels, which were comparable to and possibly lower than natural grass surfaces in Ridgewood.

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