Article should consider artificial turf's danger from low dose, heavy metal exposure.

Posted by Laura Vandenberg at Jan 03, 2011 12:30 PM |

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle describes the results of a recent study, which suggests that artificial playing fields – made from recycled tires – are safe for children. This level of safety was determined solely because the fields harbor fewer bacteria than normal grass fields, a concern posed by concerned citizens. Yet scientists report that the air around artificial turf fields contains "volatile organic compounds" and lead and other heavy metals.

The article goes on to say that the "presence of these toxins was so low that no public health concern was identified." In fact, for many heavy metals – including lead – there is no safe level of exposure. Even incredibly low levels of lead have been shown to affect development of the brain and nervous system. Children and developing fetuses are sensitive to heavy metals and permanent damage can occur after exposure.

While only 20 percent of the lead that enters the body in food is absorbed, the majority of lead that is inhaled will enter the bloodstream. Therefore, even small amounts of lead in the air around playing fields should not be ignored.

Heavy metal exposures are a serious concern for children, and the exposures should be reduced as much as possible.


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