Be afraid, be very afraid of turf

Some cities are even removing the turf that was formerly installed

We are concerned about the possibility of  the city putting in artificial  turf on the playing fields of Campbell River.

Not a good decision. Some cities are even removing the turf that was formerly installed. Given the negatives about the turf, we should all rethink  this whole issue.

Seattle soccer coach Amy Griffin appeared on NBC news last fall for voicing her concerns about artificial-turf fields. Specifically, the associate head coach of the University of Washington’s women’s team had been worried about “crumb rubber” — tiny black pieces of used tires — which is being used as infill. She had compiled a list of 38 young players — 34 of them goalkeepers — who had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Griffin couldn’t help but wonder if those athletes’ exposure to “tire crumb” which contains multiple toxic chemicals and carcinogens, had put them at risk.

Since October, her list has grown to 89 names. Although it’s difficult to prove a direct link between exposure to crumb rubber and cancer, Griffin still isn’t convinced that the substance used on synthetic-turf fields is safe, especially for young kids.

“We don’t really know enough about the toxins in this stuff,” Griffin says. “You can smell it when it gets hot. Players say things like, ‘We get it [the crumbs] in our eyes’ or ‘Every time I play indoors, I have a hard time breathing.’ If we don’t know how safe it is, then why can we sprinkle it around on our playing fields?”

The new generation of artificial-turf fields, including some in Greater Vancouver, contain crumb rubber, which acts as fake soil, supporting the synthetic blades of grass and softening the surface. The crumbs  become airborne and get inhaled, ingested, and tracked into cars and homes on clothes and athletic gear. Aside from their potentially negative effect on the environment, rubber from pulverized tires contains several chemicals that are known or suspected to cause health effects, according to a March 2008 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

Don’t let  this  decision about artificial turf go through without  going on the internet to view  the negative information about this surface. Be afraid-be very afraid! Our children and grandchildren deserve better.

George and Patricia Nelson