Lead-ing The Discussion

Throughout the years, the synthetic turf industry has developed and tested new pigment formulations to enable the removal of all or most of the lead from over 90 percent of the pigments used to color synthetic turf. Now the STC is committed to reducing lead levels in the remaining 10 percent of all colored fibers that still require lead chromate to meet the consumer’s demand for long-term colorfastness and vibrancy in certain colors. The association voluntarily pledged to reduce lead levels in accordance with the proposed Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (H.R. 4040), and to meet the same strict standards Congress is likely to impose on the children’s toy industry. Specifically, STC members will reduce lead levels in all pigments used to color synthetic turf to 300 parts-per-million (ppm) or less no later than January 1, 2010, and to 100 ppm or less no later than January 1, 2012.

Other Reports On Safety

In May, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released a 180-page review and assessment of available research and scientific knowledge by an independent environmental and engineering consulting firm attesting to the safety of crumb-rubber infilled synthetic turf. In July, the New York Department of Health issued a fact sheet on synthetic turf addressing health and safety considerations similar to the New York City report, including injury, infection, latex allergy, chemical exposure and heat stress. Both of these documents–plus numerous independent and current research, technical papers, government and regulatory agency position statements–can be found at www.syntheticturfcouncil.org.

Like parks and recreation managers across the country, the STC is committed to safeguarding the well-being of those who play on synthetic turf. The STC will continue to make independent, current and credible research and science available as it is published, and be accessible for forthright information to ensure that users enjoy peace of mind.

Rick Doyle is the President of the Synthetic Turf Council, which 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. STC members produce and install most of the synthetic turf sports fields in North America. For more information, visit www.syntheticturfcouncil.org.

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