TPI Schedules Meeting With EPA To Discuss Hazards Of Artificial Turf

Potential environmental, health and safety risks of artificial turf components will be the focus of a meeting between the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, and Turfgrass Producers International (TPI).

TPI presented its concerns to the EPA in a document entitled, “Serious Questions About the New-Generation Turf That Require Answers.” The document was developed by a special Task Force appointed by the TPI Board of Directors to investigate artificial turf. The document presents concerns regarding the short- and long-term health, safety and environmental risks to students, families and professional athletes who utilize fields where the new-generation of artificial turf could be installed.

Several of the specific concerns listed in the “Serious Questions” document include:

  • Artificial turf infill includes silica sand and ground tire rubber (containing the heavy metal cadmium)—What are the consequences of human exposure to silica dust and cadmium particles? Has the EPA or OSHA established maximum exposure levels to these materials? What toxic gases would be released into the atmosphere in the event of an artificial turf fire?
  • Artificial turf eventually will have to be replaced—Will environmentally safe disposal of large quantities of silica sand and ground rubber be possible when replacement becomes necessary? What will be the overall environment impact to an area where artificial turf is used to replace natural grass? (Natural grass reduces temperatures, traps and biodegrades airborne pollutants, filters rainwater and facilitates the recharge of groundwater and aquifers.)
  • Field sanitation, including removal of bodily fluids (spittle, blood, sweat, vomit, urine) and animal and/or bird droppings, all present unique problems—Are antiseptic cleaners being widely used, and do they properly sanitize these fields?
  • Temperatures of artificial fields have been documented upwards of 86 degrees F hotter than natural grass fields under identical conditions—How long can players be safely exposed to these temperatures?

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