Artificial turf found not harmful to children
Artificial field turf does not expose young children to harmful levels of lead, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission concluded Wednesday. “Our message is: go out and play,” says a CPSC spokesperson. Because it’s durable, easy to maintain, and doesn’t require pesticides, synthetic turf has increasingly replaced grass fields across the U.S. Manufacturers insist that the lead that gives the green “grass” its color cannot leach out or become airborne; however, concerns about turf toxicity came to a head in the fall when New Jersey officials found worrisome lead levels in a handful of fields. But the CPSC found that while lead exposure does appear to increase over time as synthetic grass fibers break down, none of the fields the agency tested “released amounts of lead that would be harmful to children.” The study did not consider the potential health effects of the ground-up rubber which makes the spongy surface of many fields; that issue will be addressed in a U.S. EPA study of artificial turf due this fall.