Recent studies in Connecticut and New York have confirmed the presence of hazardous materials on some existing fields using artificial turf. Chemical toxins identified included the metals arsenic, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead
and zinc, the chemicals acetone, ethylbenzene, tetrachloroethene, toluene and xylene, and phthalates. High temperatures recorded at field level can significantly increase the volatility of some of these chemicals.
While advocates claim the fields are safe, the potential health effects of exposure to these chemicals − endocrine disruption, neurological impairment and cancer − can take years to manifest themselves. Without long-term field
testing, no one is in a position to say that the exposure is harmless, particularly for children.
And there are other problems. Cleaning synthetic turf can require harsh chemicals, and body fluid spills are particularly difficult to handle. Additional concerns about the eventual disposal of artificial fields, potential legal liability and the loss of environmentally beneficial natural turf (natural turf sequesters carbon dioxide and reduces global warming) has convinced many decision makers to reconsider plans for synthetic turf fields.
If your school or community is considering the installation of artificial turf, perhaps you should insist on one of the new generation of safe infill materials, or choose natural turf management instead.
For more information on the scientific research currently being conducted on crumb rubber and its effects on human health, you can check on research done by the University of Albany.