Here we go again!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Here we go again!

Now it's another million dollars we don't have for "Astroturf" or its more modern equivalent.

Why? Because it always "looks pretty," and "everybody else has it?"

Pay closer attention, parents!

Artificial turf fields are associated with a very wide range of health problems, including lead poisoning1 from the older fields they are pres­ently playing on at other locations, and toxic substance exposure2 from the newer cushion­ing surfaces on the fields currently being built that we're only just beginning to understand.

But that awareness is coming: "Researchers find new generation of artificial turf isn't any softer."

In case anybody has forgotten, rubber=latex3.

Got allergies or sensitization? This is far more dan­gerous to kids because of their smaller size.

(We've all seen those adorable little PAL bodies with huge helmets scurrying up and down the football field.)

Their bodies should also be promptly scrubbed after playing to remove toxic contaminants... before stopping for pizza after the game!

They have to avoid drinking fluids while on the fields, due to the potential for particle contam­ination of their drinks. Which is really a shame, because the plastic playing surface raises the ambient temperature fifteen degrees (15°) and raises the risk of dehydration.

There are also "fake-field" specific injuries... has anyone seen the strawberries this surface material can inflict from a tackle? I have. Ugly!

Additionally, kids are more prone to infections from abrasions (such as those from the bac­teria, MRSA, that has killed football players4), since artificial turf does not have the anti-bacterial protective elements of natural grass.

Kids in the city would kill for a real grass field. And you want to put a layer of plastic over a soil surface? Isn't that counter to what the Hamptons are all about?

We've been paying salaries for the grounds­keepers ever since I can remember. Today, it is good to keep people employed, (except maybe for overpaid school superintendents and investment bankers). If they need more help, why, please get off your yoga mats, bicycles and golf carts and get to work.

If you are one of the many hard-working parents, realize our most precious resource is your children. You should invest a week­end to work the (natural) turf with specialists; or per­form other tasks to free the lawn experts and make the fields viable again.

(With all the perfectly groomed estates in the area somebody around these parts certainly knows grass!)

Think Wimbledon, not Disney!

Now that is community service!

And such an example for your kids.

Mrs. Speir is a 35-year medical professional and a former Soccer Mom of ten years duration.


1. EastEnd68 said...

Thanks for the informative article. Any responsible parent should be against any surface other than natural grass.

2. Tugboat Bertha said...

Thanks for that clear and responsible presentation for why keeping natural grass is better for the kids than synthetic (plastic) turf.

3. Hambone said...

Surely you jest. you can't compare old turf to new. They are completely different. It's like saying cars before ABS, power steering and seatbelts were dangerous and therefore you should avoid a new car. Apples and Oranges.

Secondly, strawberries and lead were relevant to the old carpet turf. The new crumble turf afford you neither. If fact it remains remarkable in that you can use cleats (it's pliable anf has grip because of the fake grass) yet there is no burn. Trust me, I slide on it all the time and it plays like grass in that sense.

What it doesn't do is give a true bounce. A soccer punt usually has a forward roll. A high angle punt gets a reverse English on it... a little weird until you get used to it.

As for injuries they are less common since it now plays like grass. No more turf toe, strawberries, and ACL injuries from planted feet. It drains better so you never have that proverbial mud football game. I certainly don't want to spend a million dollars on a field but to spin fear and falsehoods (c'mon, lead in old fields!) is playing the fear card. Argue better next time.

Actually, I think you need to read better this time, and follow the links.
– Jeanne

4. Nutbeem said...

Something I learned in the building trades: when you change a robust but high-maintenance component (such as a wood window) for a high-tech low-maintenance replacement (like a vinyl window), you're making a very expensive deferred decision. This will be familiar to anyone who has failing vinyl windows on their house. It saves a lot of maintenance, but the overall lifespan of the component is much shorter, and the fix at the end of the life of the component is ... you guessed it: complete replacement!

So what's the lifespan of an artificial turf field? Ten years maybe?

Who's for another $1M project in 2020?

Would not have considered that... thanks.
– Jeanne

5. Jeanne Speir said...

Hambone does need to read all the links and my further comments and concessions. The new "grass," not the fill, is leaching not only lead but a variety of toxic junk.

Nutbeem, excellent point, especially as in the literature review it is mentioned the parts of the field that are most heavily played get compacted in fairly short order.

Then there's the "" link issue that! A total disaster....

6. Hambone said...

You can follow the links and here is what the first four paragraphs of the EPA link said: "A year after the Consumer Product Safety Commission deemed artificial turf fields safe for children the Environmental Protection Agency is taking another look at the issue."

The EPA has been testing air and turf from artificial turf fields and playgrounds that use recycled tires, according to an Associated Press report.

In New York, the Department of Environmental Conservation wrapped up similar testing and found no significant health threat from these surfaces (pdf) -- results the turf industry trumpeted.

There a multi-pronged pros and cons here. First is carpet turf... the old stuff of Astrodome notoriety. Godawful stuff! Secondly is first generation rubber, better but clearly flawed. The latest stuff, and I do play on it, is pretty good stuff. I would have to hear a compelling health issue (not one with "maybe" and "might") to not play on it.

I'll take the sincere maybe's and might's over misleading and false advertising. Please go to the other part of this blog where you have also commented on how you play my favorite sport, and how nice your fresh field feels, and how artificial turf changes how you address the ball.

Science is an iffy proposition, full of theory-testing and trials. It's a darn sight better for our kids than shiny brochures lacking any proof of their claims, and salesman who baffle you with, well, you know...

Remember, all fields will be old someday.

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