Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sports Columnist questions safety of artificial turf

Sitting in the catbird's seat
SUNDAY STEW June 1, 2008

BY RICK TELANDER Chicago Sun-Times Columnist

• • PARENTS ARE WORRIED about reports that some artificial-turf fields have possibly high levels of toxins such as lead in them.
Anybody who has a child who has played on one of the new turf fields, which uses ground-up tires to simulate dirt between the plastic grass blades, has seen the black rubber pellets that spill out of the child's socks and shoes and uniforms after games.
Maybe there's nothing to any of this. But the pellets can get in kids' eyes and ears and cuts.
When the Bears played an entire season on the University of Illinois turf in 2002, some linemen complained that the pellets got in their mouths during pileups.
New research has shown that there is a clear relationship between the level of lead in a child's blood and the likelihood he or she will have behavioral problems and, remarkably, be more likely to commit crimes as an adult.
It's not overreacting for adults to want to make sure kids play on surfaces that are not only convenient and easy to maintain, but safe beyond dispute. Click here.