Edmonds School District issues warning to city regarding possible crumb rubber ban

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State Senator Maralyn Chase speaks to the Edmonds City Council last summer regarding her concerns about crumb rubber infill.
State Senator Maralyn Chase speaks to the Edmonds City Council last summer regarding her concerns about crumb rubber infill.

The Edmonds School District, via its attorney, has put the City of Edmonds on notice that it will challenge any ban on crumb rubber playfields that applies to district properties.

The Edmonds City Council is considering such a ban after local parents and community members raised concerns earlier this year related to the recycled tire infill, citing known carcinogens in the material and the lack of research on the long-term health and environmental impacts. State Senator Maralyn Chase, an Edmonds resident with a grandson in the Edmonds School District, has said she will introduce a bill in the state Legislature in 2016 calling for a statewide ban.

In a strongly-worded letter sent Nov. 6 to the the Edmonds City Council and Mayor Dave Earling, District attorney Kristine R. Wilson of Perkins Coie said that the city has no power to regulate material used in district playfields. “The District has a duty to determine what is in the best interest of the kids in its educational programming and to provide for the health and safety of its students in their use of District property and facilities,” Wilson wrote.

“In using crumb rubber turf materials, the District is applying industry standards for school athletic fields,” the letter said, adding that artificial turf fields “increase playability, reducing the cancellation of class time, games and practices and decreasing the time needed to restorer or drain a field after rainfall.”

The school district will “challenge the City’s application of policies that impede District educational programming,” the letter said and “will take action to make the City a party to any legal claims arising from the District’s compliance with the City’s standards in lieu of abiding by industry standards for provision of safe school athletic fields.”

You can read the complete school district letter here.

 

 

49 COMMENTS

    • Joe,
      So by that do you mean we should continue with the large scale experiment currently being conducted on our children? What about the preliminary results coming in regarding an increase in cancers among athletes who grew up playing on these fields?

      To date, there have been no long term, independent studies focusing on the cumulative effects of the multitude of toxins and carcinogens contained within a tire on human health, particularly on children. Our kids should not be the lab rats!

      Tires were not manufactured with children’s playfields in mind, they are manufactured with a multitude of ever changing chemicals designed to enhance driving. Each tire is different and we never know what is in the dust produced and inhaled by field users.

      So while you wait for evidence, I am going to advocate for choices that drastically decrease exposure to known toxins and carcinogens and protect our chldren. City of Edmonds sees the need. Hopefully soon, the Edmonds School District will see the need to proceeded with precaution as well.

  1. Nice try, school district. City authorities have a clear authority to regulate what’s dumped on public, private and all property within their boundaries — particularly when it’s material that’s been documented to cause cancer such as crumb rubber. Their lawyers are bluffing and your lawyers know it. Amazing that the school district wants to play hardball over dumping carcinogens on children’s playfields.

  2. Are the crumb rubber opponents also voicing their concerns over the lawn pesticides and fertilizers used to maintain the grass fields? Unlike crumb rubber, there’s plenty of data to confirm the health risks of exposure to lawn pesticides and fertilizers. So where’s the outrage over lawn pesticides and fertilizers? If the true concern of crumb rubber opponents is the health of the players, they should focus on the Gmax reading of any playing surface (to ensure reduced concussion risk) and we should now focus on a commitment to the maintenance of the crumb rubber fields (like any other fields) to ensure they are well-maintained and within acceptable safety limits to reduce potential of injury.

    • Scott,
      Most are fully aware, and concerned about pesticides and fertilizers. However, you have skewed the point. The point is not anti-synthetic turf, even though many would prefer organically maintained sand-capped grass fields, The point is clearly to ban crumb rubber, NOT the synthetic turf, but the crumb rubber infill… just use a different infill.

      • A viable organic infill (i.e. considering our region’s weather) would be wonderful, as long as it too is restored and maintained as needed to acceptable levels to help prevent injury. My number one concern is the safety of children residents and I don’t want to see our community’s vigilance end at the choice of an infill.

  3. The School Board issuing us a warning…get real! You work for US…

    We will remember the School Board in February on the Education levy renewal=renewal + INCREASE …

    The School Board forgets where their bread is buttered…wise up!

  4. Follow the money, lots of tires have to go somewhere. Why not where our children play? What a joke. There are plenty of other infills that provide the same cushion without the heat and pollution issues. Nothing is perfect. One of the major issues with crumb rubber is not just it being on a field, it does not stay there. It gets tracked and brought into cars and homes. And before anyone has a conniption, yes pesticides and fertilizers do also. IT is all about the magnitude and the risk. The true risk is not yet known by the simple nature of how cancers grow and develop. Better to use some simple common sense.

  5. All the drama the ESD is supporting has created wonderful media coverage both on television and radio. All this has taught me that as a parent I need to be self informed and be aware of whom to trust. I am sure that each and every Edmonds School District Board member is very intelligent and can clearly see that the “industry standards” they are referring to are NOT in the best interest of anyone… Especially the children whom they are supposed to represent. Truth outweighs error always. Truth always prevails. The errors of crumb rubber turf have been exposed. In the Land of Oz everyone eventually sees just who and what is behind the curtain. Thank you Edmonds School Board Members for your part in this magnificent production and thank you especially to those who have been instrumental in pulling the curtain back so we can all see what is really going on.

  6. The school district’s argument is “Artifical turf fields reduce cancellation of class time”. Excuse me? Class is canceled students, there’s wet grass outside, go sit in the corner. Everyone knows these fields have nothing to do with the students at the school and class time. Both the school district and the city have been documented referencing the revenue that that they can generate from the special interest groups that this development was specifically designed for. The school district continues make dishonest representations.

  7. I am failing to understand why the ESD is dead set against any dialogue against crumb rubber. This should be focused around health issues, not who wields the most power. Issuing “warnings” is not conducive to a collaborative discussion.

  8. Of course this crumb rubber stuff is a HORRIBLE idea for many obvious reasons. Will be watching this as it continues to unfold. And thank you Maralyn Chase for your efforts & in advance for calling for a statewide ban on this stuff!

  9. I love how the district is spending “the public’s” money on high paid lawyers at Perkins Coie to do what ever they want them to. Evidence is not “district paid reports”.. Sorry to disappoint.. Possibly the district should stop worrying about starting fights with the city and should worry more about what they have been covering up.. Attorney assisted..

  10. The fellow at the senior center yesterday pretty much said that the test done were not even close to the conditions on the field when its warm out and it makes the product 40 times more dangerous thats the second time Ive heard that this week the stuff Im pushing the owner of the company told me the same thing, so i would like to know what the school district has to say to that?

  11. It comes down to money. There are alternatives that are KNOWN safe (as opposed to UNKNOWN unsafe) that cost 100K-200K vs 70K for crumb rubber. Price the risk, divide it by the number of users and discuss. Compare that to the cost of the attorneys arguing the case. Compare it to the cost of disposal when it’s old. Compare it to the cost of cleaning the clothing. Get some real numbers. Bring us real analysis.

  12. I remember years ago, when this turf was installed on several football fields around the country. There were higher incidence’s of health issues with the players. The big concerns then were that there were several players that had developed ALS.
    I cannot imagine why the school district would even consider putting our children into any situation that has not been determined completely safe.
    Where is your common sense and concern for the best interest of the children and staff?
    I will definitely support the city counil in the banning of this product.
    When I read what the Edmonds school district has to say, I’m also concerned about the bullying tone. This is not a pissing contest people. Grow up.

    • Exactly Fran. I thought the same thing myself. The bullying tone is so sad. With all the talk about anti bullying I think we need to look at this and report it. To whom? Ha

    • Amazing that they are so fixated on using crumb rubber when there are several other options. Put it up to a vote by the citizens that pay the taxes. My bet is follow the money. Millions of tires become worn out every year, they need to be disposed of. The companies pay allot because tires are considered a type of hazardous waste and cannot just be put in a landfill or burned. So they get recycled and the recyclers have to find something to recycle it into. Some is used in asphalt, others are used for playground mulch and fields, especially because the fields have to be replaced periodically. So industry lobbyists push for laws like the one the school district spoke of and also lobby school boards to use the stuff either directly or indirectly. No direct bribes but things like “Hey we will recycle all your tires for 10 years if you use xyz product. Or use these field materials and we will donate money for some pet project. Of course there it is not a direct quid pro quo, it is done through a third or fourth company but it is happening.

  13. Does anyone remember years ago when Thalidomide was an accepted drug for pregnant women in most Western societies but our Attorney General would not OK it here? It turned out she was correct.

  14. First, I am not a scientist, so my knowledge on crumb rubber is limited to resources that I can read about. Second, I avoid any analysis done by crumb rubber or in-fill organic providers, they don’t particularly count as unbiased opinion.

    So a couple of Senators asked the EPA to respond by 11/6 about the safety of crumb rubber. I haven’t been able to find that response. It will be interesting to see.

    My concerns focus on rational comparisons. VOC’s are the issue. That new car, new house, dry cleaned scent is VOC being emitted. Just about every piece of clothing we buy emits VOC. Asphalt now contains tires, and emits VOC’s. The makeup, rubbing alcohol, drapes, gas can in the garage, paint and varnish on the deck, and just about everything else emits VOCs. Although I cannot recall the source, I believe a government study showed that the average household emits double the VOC’s that are considered safe. So do I sue my neighbors when they paint the house? Do I sue the grocery for selling Lysol? Do I sue the building company for using linoleum? Do I put my children in a bubble with an oxygen filter?

    I am all for organic infill. I believe in safe viable alternative uses for tires that don’t exceed acceptable limits.

    A couple of arguments have surfaced, and no one supports paying for the additional cost of organic infill. No one supports footing the bill for beautiful organic Bermuda soccer pitches. Everyone supports installing them, no one supports paying for them. I don’t think that the government spends as wisely as it could, but what line item gets hacked to pay for organics?

    To date, i have read and seen anecdotal studies that say crumb rubber is bad. I couldn’t find one peer reviewed study that it was the cause. They all say that they emit VOC’s. VOC’s are the cause, and what are the combined effects of all of them? I am sure they are not good, because there are studies that say VOC’s will kill you. So how do you isolate it to crumb rubber. So, in the interest of public safety, do we ask the City to buy only wood products that don’t emit VOC, ban all products within City limits that emit VOC’s (including those high dollar plastic strollers with the water proof nylon that has been generously treated with stain repellent), and to pave our roads with compacted earth and gravel? Do we create fines for folks who have brakes, let their car idle at stop lights, and use most air fresheners in their home? Do we have a resolution passed that all persons in clothing that has been dry cleaned must wear a large wooden non-VOC emitting DC on their chest to warn passers by of oncoming cancer risks? Should I scream at you for running in shoes that emit VOC’s whenever you are in the gym or on hot pavement? All of those choices that other people are making are putting me at risk. The government needs to do something about it, right?

    I am not opposed to limiting risk. I am opposed to taking away a viable year round sports facility that provides a benefit to kids and adults alike. Being from Florida, my kids get the luxury of playing on mostly all grass fields. The community also pays for it. Every household in the neighborhood pays $2,500 per year for those luxuries. (In addition to high property taxes and levies that are another subject all together).

    What is the lifelong health benefit of teaching physical fitness at an early age? What is the lifelong benefit of teaching sportsmanship? What is the lifelong benefit of instilling discipline and accountability as a part of a team?

    I don’t think anyone disagrees with the safest alternative for our children. I disagree with painting this argument as a black and white issue, because I don’t see too many folks in hemp clothing, living in unpainted log cabins, using bundled tree bark for shoes raising hell about the combined effects of the chemicals that we use everyday. I don’t see a large group of folks ponying up to pay the $2,500 per year for Community Parks that are deeded in most planned communities to have top notch ball fields.

    It’s a Catch 22 and a slippery slope for the Council, City, and School Board. In the interim, I support the fields until a fair trade off an economically viable solution, in conjunction with no loss of benefit is available. I also sympathize with the Council and City on this one, because they are damned it they do, damned if they don’t.

    None the less, it will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

    • George. I read your entire comments. Interesting points but the difference with this crumb rubber is that it is being ingested into children. It it being swallowed. It gets into eyes and sits overnight sometimes not coming out until the next day. It is coughed up. And more than likely gets on food/ water bottles. And it appears in open sores when kids fall on the turf. I don’t see where people would be licking paint, eating paint or ingesting or even rubbing their eyes on tennis shoes or rubbing clothes on open sores. All the things you mention would not normally be ingested. For a soccer player goalie to give it there all it would be impossible for them not to ingest it into their system right?

      • They are inhaling the toxic fumes every day, every second of every day, from air fresheners, cars, tire dust, nail polish, model glue, Lysol, paint, and any other particles that, albeit small, are VOC’s. Kids sleep in fire retardant pajamas that come into contact with their skin. They use diapers that smell good, but that smell isn’t all that healthy. They roll around and crawl on carpets that are treated heavily with formaldehyde and other stain treatments. They inhale the smell of model glue. Any shampoo or bubble bath with Cocamide DEA is being used to bathe them in carcinogens. The inks, binding glue, and finishes on wrapping paper are carcinogens. Just last year, Johnson’s baby wash and baby shampoo removed formaldehyde. Canned tomatoes are usually lined with bph, so no more take out pizza. Don’t forget to skip the pepperoni and the sausage. Please don’t use eggs or think farm raised fish is a safer alternative either. Farm raised fish, and those lunchables (or pretty much any processed meat product) is a cancer causing agent. if they pet a cat or a dog that has lindane, to control fleas, they are rubbing a known carcinogen. If yojr candles are parafin and scented, odds are they are breathing in carcinogens. That rubbing alcohol that they get a swab of before an injection is a cancer causer. Those nifty frozen meals that can be microwaved or oven cooked are usually in containers that emit VOC’S. There are even studies that show the Teflon on your pans may be killing you. Yes, they may not be licking paint, but they’re inhaling, bathing in, riding in, sleeping in, playing with, just about every other known VOC every second of every day.

        So, in isolation, it is perfectly true that VOC’s are emitted from crumb rubber. VOC’s cause cancer. Soccer players, football players, baseball players, people who come into contact with multiple ground and crumb rubber surfaces. Therefore soccer players get cancer from crumb rubber. That is not a causal relationship. At least there isn’t much science that I have seen that has validated that relationship. I am not saying that we should replace school lunches with crumb rubber and candles to prove that point, but to isolate crumb rubber as the cause of cancer in soccer goalies hasn’t been proven.

        Perhaps long term exposure to the sun, cancer causing agents in sun screens, aerosols in bug spray they applied, or the muscle balm they are using with sodium Laurel sulfate or some other agent is the cause. Perhaps it’s the FD&C Blue #1 in those sports drinks, or the antibiotics in whole milk that they drink. Perhaps it’s because they perspire and they absorb the surfactant from the long sleeve shirt they wear that gets washed in most common laundry detergents. We know every single one of those things are irritants, carcinogenic, or some combination of the two.

        Once again, I am all for safer in fill. I have played on both, and there is little difference between rice husks and coconut, and crumb rubber. But I have not seen where the cash to pay for it is going to come from, nor have I seen anything at this point that I believe says crumb rubber is anymore dangerous than the baby powder (talc and scent) that we voluntarily force upon our wonderful smelling babies every day.

        Finally, my biggest issue is that we are asking the City to make a decision based on aa slippery slope. I don’t see, at this point, an alternative, other than contributing more for these types of fields, choosing not to use them, or having more science.

        The trade off is less kids involved in organized sports, and there is proof that physical activity, socialization, and organized team sports and other organized activities are both physically and mentally healthy for kids.

        • It’s not easy these days with all these choices we have to make. What companies to support. Who to do business with. What to avoid. It’s very challenging. But I honestly always try to do the very best I can for my kids and the environment , from the products we use, the foods we eat, the high fructose we avoid, the round- up we detest, microwave use, deodorant, make up, the list goes on and on. You could spend months just analyzing dairy products or even eggs for that matter. It’s crazy what’s out there and what is being sold for human consumption. With that in mind I totally support a safer type of turf. Why do they even sell Cool Whip? That product is horrible. Judging from your comments I’m positive you know what it’s made of. Crumb rubber should be banned. So should Cool Whip. But we start somewhere I guess. I agree exercise is important. We need to remember there are many ways for kids to exercise too. Swimming, tennis, ballet, golf, volleyball, racquetball etc etc. Maybe kids could be well rounded in a few different areas instead of spending there entire moments on some toxic turf which could be akin to eating Cool Whip for breakfast lunch and dinner. Just some thoughts. But I do support a safe alternative to the crumb rubber turf.

        • I hate to say this, but swimming pools have been linked to increased cancer markers. The rubberized surface of tennis courts and the dust created by clay courts have chemicals that are linked to cancer. That racquetball smell doesn’t come from good old mother nature, and felt isnt tennis ball yellow naturally. Being from Florida, I see the effects of a golf course in every neighborhood through algal blooms and fertilizer and fish kills from fertilizer treatments. There is even a golf club that is made out of a cancer causing agent. The sizing and tanning chemicals in gold gloves, when isolated, cause cancer.

          Everything that has been altered, modified, processed, in today’s environment probably has trace amounts of VOC’s.

          Taken exclusively, the argument being made sounds like kids are spending 9 hours a day eating crumb rubber and rubbing it into their open wounds. In the words of that great commercial, “That’s not how it works, that’s not how any of it works”.

          Your make up and toddler in my pool cause relations with chlorine that cause cancer, but I am not asking anyone to require no make up and no babies in the pool. It is a risk that I have deemed acceptable.

          I go back to the economics, the trade off, and the benefits.

          I have been known to eat my words before, and will donso again when cancer outbreaks start in and around crumb rubber fields that are outside of normal ranges, but that, at least I cannot find it, hasn’t happened. It sort of like the Trident commercial 4 out of 5 dentists surveyed recommend Trident. If they surveyed 5 dentists who own stock in Trident, I would expect them to answer that way, and for it to be true. That doesn’t mean it’s science, it doesn’t mean that 80% of dentists like Trident, it just means that 4/out of five answered yes to Trident. What was the other choice? Was it Trident or Broken Glass? What was the statistical significance?

          Again, if we can come up with a way to fund cocofill, rice husk, or a heated and lighted Bermuda field, I am all for it, but that hasn’t been proposed. What has been said is that the field is bad, and we want the government to fix it. Contrary to popular belief, most government doesn’t just do stuff to piss off the residents.

          It’s a slippery slope, and still the Council, the Mayor, the City, they are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. Hard decisions, but I have to admit that I am glad that other folks are having to make them, because for all of the grief, the pay scale sucks.

        • You bring up good points George. The thing that caught my attention with this whole crumb rubber issue is when I became aware of the list the University of Wa girls soccer coach has been compiling. It’s high. Something like close to 200 now with 96 of those 200 being soccer goalies being challenged with this cancer. Sorry I can’t recall her name at the moment but google it. It is unbelievable. But I have to agree there is a lot out there you have to be aware of. And yes i did know that about swimming pools too. I seek out salt water pools with cement bottoms. You are very knowledgable which I appreciate. And thanks for your honest tone.

  15. I also support not using crumb rubber on the fields.. I would also support Edmonds School District in not spending so much of the “public’s” money on questionable legal fees (the last few years)… I bring this up because the Board has claimed that these fields are budget conscience… The legal fees paid out on this crumb rubber issue and other questionable issues inside the district are not budget conscience at all.. Just an example which is public knowledge already.. The district paid $20,000+ on an (investigator/attorney) to investigate the Superintendent just for a reprimand by the board. After he was reprimanded the Board threw more money out the door to send him to a class to help with his behavior at work.. The problem with district is they consider the “public” money as “district” money and they drain it with this mindset. I agree with other posts on here that they need to be reminded that the money they receive is from the public..

    • Yes, many different opinions. After reading this article check out the writers employment history and viewpoint of his other articles. May help frame your reference a bit…

      The other “fact based articles” referenced in the article are the same ones mentioned just last Monday when EPA Spokesperson Liz Purchia called existing studies inadequate, and said “new science” is needed to answer questions about turf safety and that “existing studies do not comprehensively address the recently raised concerns about children’s health risks from exposures to tire crumb.”

      http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/artificial-turf-debate/senators-call-independent-crumb-rubber-turf-study-n459001

  16. Yet another perspective to consider- An interview with Dr. David Brown, renowned toxicologist and children’s environmental health expert- the article states …I asked Dr. Brown when he thought that people would start to take notice of the cancer-related harms of artificial fields. Ten years? Fifteen? I expected ambiguity — he had been helpful, but he had been reserved with his words, as scientists are and lawyers are not.

    “Five,” he said. “Five years. Because we’re putting first graders and cancerous materials together.”

    He continued: “And when the cancer starts, people like myself will be sorry we didn’t argue more effectively.”

    http://www.saratogafalcon.org/content/are-artificial-turf-fields-carcinogenic

  17. Credentials for toxicologist referenced above- David R. Brown. ScD (Doctor of Science) Public Health Toxicologist Director of Public Health Toxicology for Environment and Human Health, Inc.; Past Chief of Environmental Epidemiology and Occupational Health at Connecticut’s Department of Health; Past Deputy Director of The Public Health Practice Group of Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) at the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.

  18. Another perspective- “Children go to playgrounds almost daily,” said Dr. Phillip Landrigan, dean of global health at New York’s Mt. Sinai Hospital and a top expert on the effect of chemicals on children. “And gifted athletes are on the soccer filed almost every day. That sort of cumulative exposure results in a buildup in their body of these toxic chemicals, and can result in a buildup of cellular damage that’s caused by these chemicals, that can then result in disease years or decades later.”

    “Little children should not be put in a situation where they’re forced to be in intimate contact with carcinogenic chemicals,” Dr. Landrigan added.

    http://kansascity.legalexaminer.com/defective-dangerous-products/playground-danger-is-recycled-rubber-mulch-toxic-to-your-kids/

    Biography: Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., M.Sc., is a pediatrician and epidemiologist. He has been a member of the faculty of Mount Sinai School of Medicine since 1985 and served as Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine since from 1995 to 2015. He was named Dean for Global Health in 2010.

    Dr. Landrigan graduated from Boston College in 1963 and from Harvard Medical School in 1967. He completed an internship in medicine/pediatrics at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital and a residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Boston. In 1977, he received a Diploma of Industrial Health from the University of London and a Masters of Science in Occupational Medicine degree from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He served for 15 years as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer and medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). While at CDC, Dr. Landrigan served for one year as a field epidemiologist in El Salvador and for much of another year in northern Nigeria. He participated in the Global Campaign for the Eradication of Smallpox. Dr. Landrigan directed the national program in occupational epidemiology for NIOSH. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal of the US Public Health Service.

    In 1987, Dr. Landrigan was elected a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the of the Institutes of Medicine). He is the President of Cellegium Ramazzini. He served as Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine and Editor of Environmental Research. He has published more than 500 scientific papers and 5 books. He has chaired committees at the National Academy of Sciences on Environmental Neurotoxicology and on Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children. From 1995 to 1997, Dr. Landrigan served on the Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veteran’s Illnesses. In 1997-1998, Dr. Landrigan served as Senior Advisor on Children’s Health to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and was instrumental in helping to establish a new Office of Children’s Health Protection at EPA. From 2000-2002, Dr. Landrigan served on the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board. Dr Landrigan served from 1996 to 2005 in the Medical Corps of the United States Naval Reserve. He retired in 2005 at the rank of Captain. He continues to serve as Surgeon General of the New York Naval Militia, New York’s Naval National Guard.

    Dr. Landrigan is known for his many decades of work in protecting children against environmental threats to health. His research combines the tools of epidemiology with biological markers derived from clinical and laboratory medicine. Dr. Landrigan is deeply committed to translating research into strategies for health protection and disease prevention.

    http://www.mountsinai.org/profiles/philip-j-landrigan

  19. A 2012 study from the highly respected international journal Chemosphere identified many of the chemicals the EHHI found. The study said that many of these hazardous substances were at high or extremely high levels, and also confirmed that the particles are volatile (turn into gases) even at room temperatures.

    “The presence of a high number of harmful compounds in these recycled rubber materials … should be carefully controlled, and their final use should be restricted or even prohibited in some cases,” the study concluded.

    And another perspective: Dr. Barry Boyd, the director of Cancer Nutrition Health at Yale Health System and a board member at the EHHI, warned that “because artificial turf playing fields are disproportionately used by children and adolescents, these childhood exposures to environmental carcinogens may add to lifelong risk of cancer.”

    http://www.saratogafalcon.org/content/are-artificial-turf-fields-carcinogenic

    Credentials- D. Barry Boyd, MD- Clinical Professor of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, Oncologist at Greenwich Hospital and Affiliate Member of the Yale Cancer Center. Research areas include environmental risk factors for cancer as well as cancer etiology, including nutrition and the role of insulin and IGF in malignancy. Dr. Boyd is the Founder and Director of Integrative Medicine at Greenwich Hospital – Yale Health System.

    • I don’t question that VOC is bad. I don’t question the science that says VOC’s are bad and that lead and other chemicals are bad. I thinks its a fine thing that the Doctor is pushing toward a resolution. I think it is good that they, after apparently nine years of protest, are getting attention. The data compiled by the UW soccer coavh MAY be something.

      We all want safe things for our kids. So, once again, my household is willing to pony up $2,500 in taxes per year to have world class all natural facilities. I figure if I don’t want it , and I have an alternative that I want everyone else to pay for, then I should be the first one proposing a new tax.

      The thing is that no one wants to pay for the alternative. I don’t question Dr. Brown’s science. Chemicals are bad. So.e of the chemicals in crumb rubber are bad. The jury, all over the country, is still out. Sure, Google crumb rubber, and you’ll find towns that don’t use it. What you don’t find are the lists of towns that do continue to use it. Why? Because it

    • Laura, keep in mind that this is the same group that promotes me calling code enforcement when wood smoke gets on my property.

      Again, I don’t disagree that wood smoke is bad, but unless I am willing to foot the bill for my neighbors heat, and stop eating smoked turkey, well, I am going to have to deal with a little wood smoke.

      There are trade offs. Ones that we should be aware of as consumers, residents, etc. Proselytizing isn’t a solution. Once we are aware of the alternatives, the electorate should offer solutions to their representative body. They’re probably waiting for us to volunteer to pay for new beautiful fields with no fertilizers or pesticides (EHHI has written quite a bit about this as well).

    • Laura, we have to remember that Dumb and Dumber is the new NEW.

      Thank you for all of your work and information that will make a lot of people educated regarding the continued use of TOXIC substances in our environment Protecting our children AND our planet is paramount, particularly that now we know what the science tells us. Many people still say asbestos and other toxic things are a given and no big deal in our environment. One need only go to the mesothelioma site and research the naysayers for a zillion years regarding asbestos toxicity. So many dead and so many made millions of dollars repeating the dumb and dumber line and making profits no matter what the cost…… 1939. through the 1980s with asbestos. .We’ve heard it all before….same tune, only now we really have the science regarding all living things including our planet. Do we need to just go along…..I think not . We now know there are no “trade offs”. Poison is poison.

  20. Part of the issue is there has not been alternatives even offered let alone objectively studied. Throwing out a $2500 per household field is wildly inaccurate. And who is pushing for perfectly manicured fields? My 7 yo son played soccer this fall on Chase Lake and the field by the library and had the time of his life getting muddy. The push for the “perfect fields” comes from the adult and select crowd, you want them go fund them privately and make your money that way. And by the way it was well publicized that Verdant had offered to discuss paying for the infill difference.

    No one is saying there are not thing in life, and most things do, that have risks. What is being said is that children deserve a greater care in the decisions on what is used. They are not adults that can make up their own mind, and public entities that use everyone’s tax dollars to do these projects have a duty to have open and transparent discussions before making decisions that impact us all. There were none in relation to the Woodway HS project and by the letter sent to the City by the ESD they show their contempt for the very people that fund them.

    • So, playing on muddy, rutted, fields is the way to go? I want kids to play the game, baseball on baseball fields, soccer on a soccer pitch, tennis on a tennis court, and swimming in a swimming pool. I played sports for 20 years through college and beyond, and the conditions do make a difference. Injuries on uneven surfaces are no fun. No matter what the age. My son has played recreational soccer because he chose to play rec league soccer. That has nothing to do with his ability to play on decent fields. Soccer isn’t playing in the mud, and tennis isn’t whacking a felt covered rubber ball in an empty parking lot. Sure, it’s fun. I played Rugby on muddy fields, on hot crumb rubber rubber fields, on crappy fields in East Texas, and on perfectly manicured rugby pitches. I was more worried about ripping my knee off from a rock or sprinkler head. My son plays high school soccer now, and I don’t worry about WHAT the surface is, as long as it is a consistent surface. I worry most about an errant slide tackle, taking a kick to the head, or breaking an ankle in a rut. Those things DO have a causal relationship that has been proven.

      Contempt is a strong word. Much like the opponents are using strong language, I would expect the school board to use clear language. If that’s a display of contempt, then we should get out the harps and kumbaya our way through these differences.

      I agree, these kids are not adults, yet we force them to get X-rays, let them wear hair products, powder their backsides with cancer agents, make them smell really fresh in baby wash, but God forbid they get a soccer pitch. I don’t know how much more transparent the school board could be.

      The money IS an issue. I have always said that I don’t think Government is the best steward, but money is always an issue.

      I typically can go either way with an issue, and I see the merits of both sides. What I don’t get is why folks are not picketing outside of liquor stores, groceries, dry cleaners. I don’t get that folks are okay with inhaling tire dust and carbon monoxide from rubberized asphalt and tires on the roads. II don’t get why this issue, when looked at as a part of a system, is taken as a pariah in isolation of all other factors.

    • Regarding the alternatives, per the City Council’s presentation, all of the alternative fill options are more than twice to 5 times the expense of crumb rubber.

      For some of the options, additional infrastructure is needed (pads) and requires on-going maintenance which adds to the quoted expense. Then there’s the issue of availability.

      So, when talking about alternatives, keep the expense in mind. Using alternative fill options is not as easy as it sounds.

      • Coated SBR (crumb rubber) $56,000
      • TPE $280,000
      • EPDM $282,000
      • Rounded Silica Sand $246,000
      • Organic (coconut husks) $188,000
      Plus additional expenses: requires a pad, on-going maintenance & watering
      • Organic (cork) $128,000
      Limited availability, requires pad
      • Nike Grind $127,000
      Limited supply

  21. All synthetic turf fields require ongoing maintenance to be within warranty. Additionally, not represented in figures above are disposal costs. TPE is re-used on new field when carpet needs replacement and organic options are fully compostable at end of life, so there is not a disposal cost. SBR (crumb rubber) on the other hand, still needs to be disposed of and I understand that can be a significant cost.

    Finally, when you are talking about the cost of the infill compared to the entire cost of instillation for Woodway Fields ($4.2 million) the overall increase is 4-6% ($144,000- 264,000) for an organic infill- which is what most have been encouraging the use of. It is quite possible that the additional cost of this type of infill will be close to a wash by the time end-of-use disposal costs are figured in.

    Plant -based/organic infill is used widely all over Italy and is what many around the nation have decided to use, instead of the crumb rubber infill, including South Kitsap High School when they installed their field this past summer.

  22. Laura, I commend you for your efforts to bring awareness to this issue – I think it is healthy to explore alternatives. In full disclosure, I echo and support many of the comments brought forward by George. There needs to be a balance and consistency.

    If plant-based/organic infill is the solution, then let’s find a way to fund it. It may be that we need to increase taxes.

    As one who has played soccer for more than 25 years on a number of field surfaces, I find grass to be the most favorable…but just not here in WA. Grass fields are difficult to upkeep and provide a less than consistent field surface. They are prone to cause more injuries because of an uneven surface. AS a coach, I prefer turf as it provides a better surface to hone skills.

    Finally, when this issue gets settled, I expect this crowd to go after bacon. God knows more kids ingest bacon that crumb-rubber infill.

    • Nah, bacon, like other food products is easily an individual choice. I can choose to buy it and feed it to my children, or not and others can make the same individual decision as to what is best for their family. However, with the crumb rubber, it is a decision made by a few that affects the majority. My current choices are:

      Ignore all of the current suspicions, advice from children’s health experts, and growing anecdotal evidence, accept the current limited studies, and allow my young athlete to continue to play sports on these fields; because with so many of them going in, it is nearly impossible to play a field sport and avoid crumb rubber artificial turf fields.

      OR

      Choose to have my child engage in other sports and physical activity that do not result in exposure, and forego field sports; because, once again, with so many of them going in, it is nearly impossible to play a field sport and avoid crumb rubber artificial turf fields.

      I choose the latter. I have also chosen to advocate for non-toxic alternatives, with the hope of changing this situation in the future….hopefully in time for my kid to benefit.

      The current choice to spend millions in public funds on crumb rubber filled artificial turf fields, has caused me to make a choice which means that my child misses out on field sports, and yes, that is a personal choice. However, I am going to advocate to change that for my family and the growing population of concerned parents, many of whom have made the same difficult decision I have.

      I am well aware that life is full of risk, hazards, toxins, carcinogens- many that we simply cannot avoid,. However, my point-of-view is simple- Why knowingly add to that daily toxic load, especially when there are alternatives?

  23. Final comment on this issue, I could get behind an effort that has a more immediate need for attention and a solution: properly anchoring soccer goals.

    More than three million children play youth soccer in the US – more than 200 kids are injured each year by goals that tip over… and more than 36 deaths since 1979.

    Undisputable facts. Rally your team to solve this issue while you continue to fight science that supports by both sides of your crumb rubber argument.

    • Mike, sounds like an issue that more should be aware of. Provide the citations and champion the cause and I will support it!

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