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No Scientific Evidence of Health Risks in Aging Synthetic Turf Fields

By Denise Valenzuela

Posted in

Committed to the safety and well-being of the public many municipalities have turned to scientists to evaluate the recent concerns over high lead levels in synthetic turf sports fields. Recent controversy over this topic resulted in the closing of three playing fields over suspected high lead levels.

Dr. David Black (Ph.D. Forensic Toxicology) and Dr. Davis Lee (Ph.D. Synthetic Organic Chemistry) studied 3 fields in New Jersey to determine if these accusations were accurate.  After a complete study of the fields make up and organic compound analysis the Dr’s. assert that there is no scientific evidence of health risks related to the three older synthetic turf fields in New Jersey. In their findings it was determined that there was available evidence suggests that there are no acute health risks due to use of artificial turf fields, and risks due to chronic and repeated exposure are unlikely.

Joint Statement from Dr. Black and Dr. Lee:

“There is no scientific evidence of a health risk for children or adults based on recent test results and current knowledge of the chemical structure of aged synthetic turf products.

Concerns over potential harm related to the three older fields in use in New Jersey have not addressed fundamental questions regarding potential toxicity including route of exposure, dose of any potential chemicals, and how such chemicals may be introduced into the body by being in contact with synthetic turf products (referred to as bioavailability).

Reports of health concerns have not been supported by any laboratory analysis on the products or humans that indicate any risk of harm due to potential exposure to chemicals.

Studies that have been conducted and made available for our review have not documented that aged synthetic turf products may be a source of lead exposure to anyone in contact with the product.”

Concerning Absorption of Lead Chromate by the Body (Bioavailability):

Trace amounts of lead exist in everyday products. The key issue is ensuring that quantities of lead that might be harmful to health cannot be absorbed into the body. Used to extend the yarn color lifespan in some synthetic turf products, lead chromate is encapsulated in plastic to prevent any health risks.

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