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Experts Agree There is No Scientific Evidence of Health RIsks in New Jersey Synthetic Turf Fields

Monday, April 21, 2008  
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Committed to the safety and well-being of the public, the Synthetic Turf Council turned to scientists to evaluate the recent concerns of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) that resulted in their closing of three playing fields over suspected high lead levels.

Dr. David Black (Ph.D. Forensic Toxicology) and Dr. Davis Lee (Ph.D. Synthetic Organic Chemistry) assert that there is no scientific evidence of health risks related to the three older synthetic turf fields in New Jersey, particularly the Ironbound B-Field on St. Charles Ave. in Newark. In addition, the NJDHSS concedes in their report that "available evidence suggests that there are no acute health risks due to use of artificial turf fields, and risks due to chronic and repeated exposure are unlikely.”

"We care very much about the community,” said Rick Doyle, President of the Synthetic Turf Council. "People deserve to know the science behind the situation, so our association turned to recognized industry experts to assess the issues.”

Joint Statement from Dr. Black and Dr. Lee:

"There is no scientific evidence of a health risk for children or adults based on recent test results and current knowledge of the chemical structure of aged synthetic turf products.

Concerns over potential harm related to the three older fields in use in New Jersey have not addressed fundamental questions regarding potential toxicity including route of exposure, dose of any potential chemicals, and how such chemicals may be introduced into the body by being in contact with synthetic turf products (referred to as bioavailability).

Reports of health concerns have not been supported by any laboratory analysis on the products or humans that indicate any risk of harm due to potential exposure to chemicals.

Studies that have been conducted and made available for our review have not documented that aged synthetic turf products may be a source of lead exposure to anyone in contact with the product.”

Concerning Absorption of Lead Chromate by the Body (Bioavailability):

Trace amounts of lead exist in everyday products. The key issue is ensuring that quantities of lead that might be harmful to health cannot be absorbed into the body. Used to extend the yarn color lifespan in some synthetic turf products, lead chromate is encapsulated in plastic to prevent any health risks.

The Synthetic Turf Council continues to gather additional scientific and medical data about the issue, sharing that information with the public in press releases and postings on its website, www.syntheticturfcouncil.org.

About Dr. David Black

Dr. Black, founder and CEO of Aegis Sciences Corporation, earned his undergraduate degree from Loyola College in Baltimore and doctorate degree in Legal Medicine (Forensic Toxicology) from the University of Maryland at Baltimore (1982). Dr. Black is a Diplomat of the American Board of Forensic Toxicology (DABFT), Diplomat of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry (DABCC), and is a Certified Professional Chemist by the American Institute of Chemists (CPC/AIC). Dr. Black was Toxicology Department Head and Director of Toxicology for Maryland Medical Laboratory, Inc. from 1982-1986. He joined Vanderbilt University in 1986 as Assistant Professor with appointments on Pathology and Pharmacology. In 1990 Dr. Black founded Aegis Sciences Corporation where he serves as Chairman, President and Laboratory Director.

About Dr. Davis Lee

Dr. Lee, a principal and senior consultant with InnovaNet, LLC, is currently Executive in Residence at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Polymer, Textile, and Fiber Engineering. He earned his Ph.D. in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from Emory University and spent 20 years with E.I. DuPont DeNemours and Co., Inc., as a research and development specialist in fiber, plastics and chemical technologies.

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.


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