At first glance, Whittier College’s installation of artificial turf on
its football field figured to update the facility and provide a
multitude of benefits for the college and its students.
Apparently, not everyone agrees, nor is happy about the
There is a feeling among some members of the community that the
artificial turf poses a threat to health due to the chemical makeup of
the paint used to color the “blades” (grass), and the recycled tires
used in making the rubber crumbs that help cushion the field.
Listed in an email from “Ivanosokin7” as potential problems for
athletes performing on the surface are being “abnormally dehydrated,
suffer heat exhaustion, cramps, and worse, be burned.” Also included are
“inhaling and absorbing pollutants which also will be washed into the
soil and ground water and be blown through the air.”
Apparently the naysayers choose not to give much, if any, credibility
to a report on artificial turf fields released July 30 by the U.S.
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that concludes young children,
as well as all athletes that use these fields, are not at risk from
exposure to lead in these fields.
However, the report also acknowledged that lead present in pigments
of some synthetic turf products gives the turf its various colors and
that conditions (age, weathering, exposure to sunlight, and wear and
tear) might change the amount of lead that could be released from the
turf. Use and exposed over time to sunlight, heat and other weather
conditions, the surface of the turf may start to become worn and small
particles of the lead-containing synthetic grass fibers might be
The CPSC staff evaluation showed that newer fields had no lead or
generally had the lowest lead levels. Although small amounts of lead
were detected on the surface of some older fields, none of these tested
fields released amounts of lead that would be harmful to children.
And while the evaluation found no harmful lead levels, as a way of
addressing any future production of synthetic turf, and to set standards
for any newcomers to the manufacture of the product, the CPSC is asking
that voluntary standards be set.
Anybody out there had any discomforting experiences while playing on
artificial turf, other than the heat that radiates from the surface
everyone talks about?