Get the Lead Out

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Adrian Benepe, Commissioner of the New York City Parks and Recreation Department and Betsy Gotbaum, Public Advocate for the City of New York, on the closing of a Harlem park due to elevated lead in the artificial turf and other concerns about synthetic fields.


Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Betsy Gotbaum

Comments [9]

Michael from Piscataway, NJ

Researchers at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School recently reported on lead in Artifical Turf Fields:

PISCATAWAY - Adding to the growing concerns over the health risks posed by lead and other chemicals in synthetic turf materials, a new study by researchers at the UMDNJ-School of Public Health finds that when children or athletes ingest the tiny rubber granules in synthetic turf, it is likely that a significant portion of the lead in the granules will be absorbed by their bodies' gastric fluids.

The investigation, led by Junfeng (Jim) Zhang, Ph.D., examined lead levels in rubber granules from four parks in New York and simulated digestive tract absorption in two of the samples.


J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2008 Nov;18(6):600-7

Jan. 09 2009 02:42 PM
Troy from Brooklyn, NY

Baetrice, they just stopped using the crumb rubber fields last year.

Jan. 08 2009 12:12 PM
john from upper west side

growing up in queens PS118 we played all year round on concrete, baseball hardball football, basketball hockey, stickball, handball agaianst the wall,we climed over chain link fences when the gates were closed. To my knowledge noone died there were a few bad falls, buuses and occasional blood which we wped off on a tee shirt and continued to play.If something really bad happened we went to the local drugs store and the pharmist took care of iodine, bandages and tape at no charge. Our biggest concern was what to tell mother when she saw the holes in our pants at theknee. Betsy get a life. We were tough and NY is getting soft!

Jan. 08 2009 11:04 AM
Beatrice from Ft. Greene

South Oxford Park in Ft. Greene has an astroturf field where there are definitely black rubber crumbs that shed. It was just put in within the past 5 years, so when did they stop using them?

Jan. 08 2009 10:59 AM
zen from ny

150 miles of driving in a fuel efficient car at 30 mpg would be 5 gallons of fuel, What lawn mower will use 5 gallons in an hour and a half ?? I grew up on an estate and had to cut acres and acres of grass, 5 gallons would easily last me a whole day with a 50 inch profesional mower.

Jan. 08 2009 10:57 AM
Troy Farmer from Brooklyn, NY

In support of Ms. Gotbaum's call for transparency, Mr. Benepe, can you tell us specifically the quantity of pesticides and/or fertilizer used on natural fields? Is it significant?

Jan. 08 2009 10:56 AM
Ralph from The Bowery

How do you go forward with new artifical turf when the Parks Rep' has no idea what the previous problem was? This seems backwards. Shouldn't we have the test results before more or our tax money is spent?

Jan. 08 2009 10:55 AM
Bill from Upper West Side

These fields are great in every way. This lead thing is a ridiculous aberration, and the threat is almost non-existent. People should stop attacking the parks department about these fields.

Jan. 08 2009 10:53 AM
William from Washington Heights

I play competitive softball and I LOVE ARTIFICIAL TURF! Most of my softball buddies feel similarly. There may be some issues regarding artificial turf, but I find that many of the people that complain about it are not regular ball players and so they don’t really appreciate some of the advantages over grass fields.

1. Artificial turf is a more consistent playing surface. The ball travels faster, but it takes fewer bad hops and there is less chance of losing one’s footing. These are two common ways that people get injured.

2. The field requires less maintenance and is more available for use.

3. I find that the field recovers more quickly after heavy rains.

4. It is more environmentally friendly. You don’t need to water it. You don’t need to fertilize it. You don't need to mow it.

Sure, in a perfect world I would rather play on grass, but only if it can be kept in near perfect condition. But this is not realistic.

Jan. 08 2009 10:19 AM

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