Safety of Synthetic Turf Validated by NJ Test Results

Friday, June 6, 2008 General News
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ATLANTA, June 5 Synthetic turf test results released bythe New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) on June 3rdconfirmed lead chromate levels are well below that necessary to cause harm tochildren and athletes using the popular playing field surfaces.

"Our industry is proud of its unblemished record of human health andenvironmental safety since synthetic turf was first introduced more than 40years ago," says Rick Doyle, President of the Synthetic Turf Council. "We areactively sharing information and cooperating with the NJDHSS, Consumer ProductSafety Council (CPSC) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ensure thecontinued safety of the public."

Lead chromate has been used in a number of synthetic turf fields to extendthe life of its colorfastness. Testing three fields in New Jersey withelevated lead levels, the NJDHSS focused on the bioaccessibility of syntheticturf, which it defines as "the fraction of a substance in a material that issoluble and made available for absorption" by the body. Findings validated theSynthetic Turf Council's position, based on science and expert opinion, thatlead chromate's extremely low bioavailability prevents it from being readilyabsorbed by the human body.

Key Findings

From its tests, the NJDHSS reported that the amount of lead chromatecontained in fibers from the three fields available for absorption in theintestine, which is where food altered by stomach acid is absorbed by theblood and lymphatic systems, ranged from 2.5% to 11%. We used the most extremescenario, 11%, to calculate the amount of turf that would have to be ingestedto equal the federal standard of 600 parts per million. In practical terms,it is virtually impossible for a child to be at risk from synthetic turf:

Continuous Improvement:

The industry continues to develop new technologies to enhance the safetyand playability of synthetic turf. Over the past four decades, the producthas made significant improvements. For example, more than 90% of the coloredfibers used in synthetic turf today contain lead chromate levels below thefederal standard. Even so, our industry is voluntarily developing pigmentformulations that continue to reduce lead chromate levels while maintaininghigh levels of quality and performance.

About the Synthetic Turf Council:

Based in Atlanta, the Synthetic Turf Council was founded in 2003 to serveas an objective resource assisting buyers and end users with the selection,use, and maintenance of synthetic turf systems in sports field, golf, andlandscape applications. The organization actively collects reputable studiesand research, as well as official statements by governmental agencies andsports organizations, which address the impact of synthetic turf sportsfields. STC members produce and install most of the synthetic turf sportsfields in North America. Membership includes builders, landscape architects,testing labs, maintenance providers, installation contractors and otherspecialty service companies. For more information, According to calculations made by forensic toxicologist Dr. David Black, a 50 lb. child would have to ingest over 100 lbs. of synthetic turf to be at risk of absorbing enough lead to equal the minimum threshold of elevated blood lead. That level is even more unreachable than Dr. Black's original worst case bioaccessibility, which was based on ingesting 23 lbs. of turf. -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission's guidance states that young children "should not chronically ingest more than 15 micrograms of lead per day from consumer products." Putting these test results in perspective, polymer and fiber engineering specialist Dr. Davis Lee calculated that a child playing on the three New Jersey fields would have to wipe his fingers on

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