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Artificial Turf, Heavy Metal & LEAD Scare: Media Plants Faux Message in Public Eye

Apr 25, 2008
Reported in several east coast news providers, a school in a mature neighborhood, located next to an iron works plant, had to have their artificial turf surface removed because it appeared to have been contaminated by lead.

The field's surfaces, built in the early days of artificial grass technology, were examined and fibers tested positive for high levels of surface contamination though no one can conclude where these kinds of results would come from.

The specific field that sparked the wildfire of media attention is located adjacent to an old ironworks plant, in a heavily industrialize part of New Jersey; the cause is anyone's guess at this time and NJ Dept of Health & Saftey - DHSS has asked the federal government to step in to explore the question beyond it's own shores.

This initial problem site and preliminary testing prompted local officials to do extend their own testing to include several samples from 10 other locally installed football fields and several samples of products purchased on the internet which are used for residential landscape projects. Though the story does not mention the method of testing, the brand names of the artificial turf manufacturer or suppliers, the article goes on to report that testing showed positive lead results in several, older, field surfaces; using a specific nylon yarn fiber no longer used in today's artificial grass market.

"We expect our government agencies, tasked with consumer safety to err on the side of caution." states Annie Costa, Executive Director of ASGi, "and with the dangers of lead poisoning fresh in our minds from the lead paint and plastics toy scare a few years ago, we applaud those that are concerned for recruiting the support of the Dept of Health and Safety of New Jersey and calling on federal agencies for help to fund a report."

Lead is everywhere - You can find general talking points from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that will shed some light on the subject. http://www.epa.gov

In addition to exposure to lead in air, other major exposure pathways include ingestion of lead in drinking water and lead-contaminated food as well as incidental ingestion of lead-contaminated soil and dust. Lead-based paint remains a major exposure pathway in older homes. Learn more about lead in paint, dust and soil.

Lead is persistent in the environment and accumulates in soils and sediments through deposition from air sources, direct discharge of waste streams to water bodies, mining, and erosion. Ecosystems near point sources of lead demonstrate a wide range of adverse effects including losses in biodiversity, changes in community composition, decreased growth and reproductive rates in plants and animals, and neurological effects in vertebrates.

If you are concerned and want to test artificial grass, synthetic turf or infill materials for lead or other heavy metals - you have several options at you can choose from by using the link in the contact/author box below.
About the Author
Assoc of Synthetic Grass Installers (ASGi) publishes articles, periodicals and publications:Synthetic Turf Market studies, rebates, HOA guidelines, grooming, maintenance and more info about Artificial Turf Yarn Fibers, Lead and Heavy Metals
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