Thursday, July 31, 2008

CPSC Says Synthetic Fields Safe on Lead Issue

Awhile back we did a post on the decision by some New Jersey schools to shut down synthetic turf playing fields due to findings of elevated lead levels.

At the time, the Consumer Product Safety Commission was launching an investigation into the safety of those fields. The CPSC has completed its evaluation and concluded that the fields are safe for children to play on.

Just a brief review: the lead issue affects only a very small percentage of synthetic turf fields. They are generally older fields, where a manufacturer used lead pigments to make the synthetic blades of grass appear green. The pigments are incorporated into the synthetic fibers and don't readily come out.

After reviewing the situation, the CPSC concluded that the lead does not leach out of the fibers, although it is conceivable that a child could ingest lead if he/she were to eat some of the grass fibers, or fragments of them. The CPSC recommends that children wash their hands after playing on such fields, but even that is a pretty conservative precaution--children are not going to voluntarily ingest grass fibers from these fields (in contrast to chipping lead paint, which younger children will eat).

For the CPSC press release, click here. For the evaluation report, click here.

1 comment:

Dan said...

The bigger problem here is that they tested for lead, found none, and so concluded that fields are safe. The critics of turf generally focus on more critical issues. The risk factors are from staph, heat and carcinogens. (Specifically, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are known carcinogens that show up in very high levels. The EPA is very down on them, which is one of the reasons why it's illegal to dispose of synthetic turf in landfills.)

The CPSC missed the point. It's like they found that copper coated bullets don't leak lead, and said that kids should play with guns.