Synthetic Turf Council Offers Clarity & Context to Concerns About New Jersey Fields
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The Synthetic Turf Council, representing the U.S.
synthetic turf industry, wants to offer some clarity and context to the
concerns raised by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services
We offer this information as part of our corporate and
community responsibility to not only promote health and safety, but also to act
as an industry that relies on science, technology, research, engineering,
testing and factual data. These standards have enabled our industry to develop
cutting edge products that provide safe, environmentally sound sports and
recreation facilities for communities throughout the country, contributing to
the conservation of land and natural resources.
Based on the facts, chemical science, and research that is
readily available, we believe the synthetic turf fields identified in New Jersey, and similar
fields made with nylon fibers, are safe to use and pose no known risk to an
individual's health or the environment.
Here are the facts: The pigment used to color the nylon fiber contains lead
chromate, a component used to extend the yarn color lifespan. Lead chromate is a highly insoluble compound
with extremely low bio-availability, which is diluted, extruded with resins and micro-encapsulated within the nylon fiber.
In fact, OSHA requires no protective measures when handling the turf
Extremely low bio-availability means that even if the compound
were to be ingested, it is very difficult for the compound to be absorbed
within the body. There is no known evidence that this poses any health risk.
The City of Newark recently
conducted elemental analysis testing using EPA approved protocols on turf
fibers from Ironbound Stadium, one of the fields identified in the New Jersey report. A separate independent test, supervised by
Dr. Davis Lee, PhD of Chemistry with InnovaNet, was also conducted. Both tests concluded that under EPA approved
test conditions, no leaching of heavy metals occurs. In other words – the lead chromate can’t
escape the nylon within which it is contained.
In addition, the City of Newark ordered an air monitoring test which
was conducted by Weston Solutions at the Ironbound site during removal of the
stadium’s nylon surface. The test found
no detectable levels of airborne lead or lead chromate. The technical data and
summaries of these tests are available to the public and the media.
It’s important to point out that the evaluation by the New
Jersey DHSS of the safety of the material content of the synthetic turf in
question is being made by using EPA residential soil safety standards. The EPA soil safety standard does not take
into consideration the extremely low bio-availability of compounds that are
bound and encapsulated in plastics such as synthetic turf.
Given the serious nature of the report issued yesterday, it’s
critically important to point out the DHSS report itself acknowledges there is
"a very low risk of exposure” to the users of the fields in question.
About the Synthetic Turf Council
Based in Atlanta,
the Synthetic Turf Council was
founded in 2003 to serve as an objective resource assisting buyers and end
users with the selection, use, and maintenance of synthetic turf systems in
sports field, golf, and landscape applications.The organization actively
collects reputable studies and research, as well as official statements by
governmental agencies and sports organizations, which address the impact of
synthetic turf sports fields. STC members produce and install most of the
synthetic turf sports fields in North America. Membership includes builders, landscape
architects, testing labs, maintenance providers, installation contractors and
other specialty service companies. For
more information, visit www.syntheticturfcouncil.org.