In fall 2008, amid concern from politicians and anxious consumers, the EPA called into question its earlier endorsement of the recycled tire used to cushion playgrounds and athletic fields, and announced that the agency would conduct a limited test of turf fields to see if a full study was necessary. EPA spokesman Dale Kemery previewed results in The Philadelphia Inquirer on June 30, indicating that "the raw data shows there is no inhalation danger to children who play on various types of artificial fields and play surfaces." Kemery also stated that while the data so far indicates minimal risk, the results are still being processed.Further investigation by PEER found that concern with artificial turf dates back to January 2008, when the EPA's Denver office warned agency headquarters of the hazards of recycled tires, saying that the material may contain harmful heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury and cadmium. Denver officials even recommended the EPA take a neutral stance instead of backing the use of recycled tires for play areas. Nonetheless, the EPA has not pulled its endorsement of fields and playgrounds that use tire crumbs, and is instead waiting to determine if more study is needed.Despite the AstroTurf lawsuit settlement, the turf industry is standing by its product. Citing a New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene report that says toxic chemicals present in crumb rubber are typical in urban environments, G9 Synthetic Turf states that reports of turt s toxicity are generally based on "extreme laboratory testing" that "rarely replicates actual field conditions."
TOXIC TURF? Gemma Baltazar In These Times; Dec 2009; 33, 12; Docstoc pg. 34 Reproduced with permission of the copyright o
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