Tue 14 Oct 2008
NYC crumb rubber fact sheet ignores warnings.
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issues fact sheet acknowledging the presence of PAHs, VOCs, MRSA, and Heavy Metals in Crumb Rubber, but ignores warnings from scientific studies.
Despite the study from the UMDNJ (University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – School of Public Health) that issued scientific findings clearly showing the ingestion of lead from crumb rubber - it appears that NYC Health Dept. officials are willing to gamble with the health effects of proven dangerous crumb rubber infill’s.
In an excerpt from the recently released study questioning the health hazards of synthetic turf fields that utilize crumb rubber for infill, the city health department has somehow justified the continued use of these materials while clearly stating that some problems exist and admittedly placing the population in danger of effects from these carcinogenic field components.
Study and Fact Sheet Says Dangers - OK
Contradicting the recent study released from the UMDNJ, the NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene has released a fact sheet that details the use of synthetic turf as a viable surface medium. As a result of the study, undertaken to answer questions surrounding the problems of the City’s often overused sports and activity venues, the fact sheet shows that the City’s health Department officials are apparently willing to accept levels of the most dangerous carcinogens present in traditional synthetic and artificial turf fields, while ignoring the availability of alternative infill systems.
MRSA is NO Issue in New York?
One of the most incessant infectious diseases that anyone can contract from a synthetic turf field is MRSA. However, In responding to a question about MRSA staph infections, the NYC answer was: Bacterial infections, such as methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), have not been shown to be caused by synthetic turf fields. This conclusion from NYC Health Department release are in direct conflict with many studies and specifically, with the following experiences of one Marci Calantonio (the mother of a boy who contacted MRSA from a crumb rubber infilled synthetic turf field (reference http://www.gazette.net/stories/102407/montnew62421_32372.shtml )) and the results at Morgan State Football Program, Baltimore Md (where the football coach was finally able to pinpoint exactly where the MRSA came from (reference http://wjz.com/sports/staph.mrsa.infection.2.797936.html)).
Alternate Safe Solutions Ignored
As an alternative to all forms of crumb rubber and the multiple health effects that can come from crumb rubber infills, TargaPro offers an anti-microbial infill that contains no rubber (hence no heavy metals such as lead or zinc and no PAHs or VOCs) and eliminates the possibility that a synthetic turf field could harbor infectious disease such as MRSA and other Staph bacteria. It is beyond comprehension that a competitively priced alternative such as Organite™ is on the market and that NYC Health Officials would not even acknowledge its presence after being made aware of the availability, property, effects, and testing results of such a safe alternative solution.
Excerpt Justifies Use With Effects on “Few”
The excerpt below shows some of the Q&A style parts of the fact sheet issued as an encapsulation of the issues that the study addressed. While seemingly informative, the results show an attempt by the NYC Health Department officials to make sure there is no problem by saying so, not by proving so, and without so much as a single acknowledgment of either their own or other municipalities’ well publicized health problems with synthetic turf infills.
If you contrast the selected Q&A fact sheet segments listed below with the statements in our previous blog posts from Congresswoman Rosa Delauro and The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey it will become fairly obvious that NYC is trying valiantly to justify the continued use of this dangerous infill material.
And, in light of this attempt at justification we have to ask, especially in the light of Organite™ as a viable alternative that protects the health and welfare of kids and athletes alike, who is responsible for this blatant oversight and who profits (and who suffers) from this misguided choice?
An Excerpt from the NYC Dept. of Health Fact Sheet
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Fact Sheet on Crumb Rubber Used in Synthetic Turf
Synthetic turf fields using crumb rubber have been installed in many athletic and playing fields throughout New York City, the United States and the world. This fact sheet provides information on questions often asked about the rubber used in the synthetic turf fields.
Q: What are synthetic turf fields made of?
Crumb rubber fields are made of the following materials:
Currently, about 13% of the Parks Department’s 952 playing fields are synthetic turf (with 70% grass and 17% asphalt).
Q: What chemicals can be found in the synthetic turf crumb rubber?
Q: Can people be exposed to the chemicals found in crumb rubber?
Q: Are any health effects associated with these chemicals?
Q: Are people who play on synthetic turf fields at risk of bacterial infections?
Q: Should people continue to use synthetic turf fields with crumb rubber?
The Q&A sheet is available at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/eode/eode-turf.shtml
The full document is available at: http://www.health.state.ny.us/environmental/outdoors/synthetic_turf/crumb-rubber_infilled/fact_sheet.htm