A post inclusive of an article from the San Francisco Chronicle delineating issues surrounding recent lawsuits filed in California against Synthetic Turf companies over “lead in the turf” issues.
It seems as though there is a rising tide of concern over the long held suspicions that there are problems (with both the turf fibers and particularly with the infill) of the synthetic turf fields being installed almost everywhere today.  The question is … are these latest lawsuits filed by the State of California just scratching the surface?

Fiber manufacturers in the United States can (or should be able) to show the yarns (fibers) they are using are below the EPA standards for lead levels … but manufacturers outside the US are not bound by our US standards and the companies importing synthetic fibers from abroad must be held accountable for showing their products meet the EPA standards.
Surely then, it does behoove us to continue to test for lead levels in fields manufactured by companies who built systems with fibers imported from abroad …  and today those companies need to provide proof that the fibers they are currently using meet the EPA standards.  Note that most of the turf fibers being produced today in the US contain lead levels far below the EPA acceptable standards.
Since the newer turfs do not have this fiber problem it seems apparent to us that the real focus should be addressing the crumb rubber infill and urethane backed turf recycling problems. Will the real health problems — not just lead in the fibers of mostly older fields — eventually be unearthed?
Where is the testing for problems such as bio-related infections being hosted by the turf, off-gassing of PAHs and dust particulates from crumb rubber and silica sand infills?  And what about the environmental impacts from carcinogen laden rainwater runoff, disposal of all forms of crumb rubber infill’s and urethane backed turf products that must be treated as hazardous waste with the attendant costs associated with such disposals? When will someone get around to addressing these issues in the fields that are currently installed?
You do realize of course that there is a solution to the lead in the fibers problem.  TargaPro provides an Environmentally Safe Synthetic Turf Field product using turf from Challenger Industries (manufactured with Bonar Yarns) and infilled with an anti-microbial infill (Organite) that addresses all the issues currently under study.  No lead in the fibers — No more Crumb Rubber infill – No urethane backing – all resulting in an environmentally safe and 100% recyclable product.
For more information and details of the solution to these problems – visit our website today!!

Suits filed over lead in artificial turf
Jane Kay, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
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Six artificial-turf companies are breaking state law by not warning the public of exposure to dangerous amounts of lead from the fake green grass, according to two separate lawsuits filed Tuesday by the California attorney general and an environmental group.
The suits, designed to stop the sale of any new turf manufactured with lead, say the toxic metal gets on the hands and bodies of children and adults who play on synthetic grass found at athletic fields, public schools, parks, day care centers and residences.

Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, requires warning of exposure to an unsafe level of a chemical that can cause cancer or birth defects. Lead is a carcinogen and can cause neurological damage, says the lawsuit filed in Alameda Superior Court.  “The goal is to get the lead out of the California pipeline so it’s not being sold in the state,” said Dennis Ragen, the deputy attorney general handling the case for the state. The companies have already expressed a willingness to make turf without lead, Ragen said.
The state attorney general – joined by the city attorney of Los Angeles and the district attorney of Solano County – filed against Astro Turf, the first branded distributor of synthetic grass; Beaulieu Group, which sells to Home Depot, Ace Hardware and Lowe’s, and Field Turf USA, a leading manufacturer and installer of football fields.
The Center for Environmental Health, an Oakland nonprofit, sued Shaw Industries, one of the world’s biggest carpet companies, as well as Synthetic Turf International and Turf Headquarters, name-brand vendors.
In May, the center sued Beaulieu, and sent letters of intent to sue 15 other manufacturers, distributors and retailers. On Tuesday, the center also filed additional intent-to-sue letters. None of the company representatives could be reached for comment Tuesday.
According to Ragen, there have been very productive settlement negotiations with Astroturf and Beaulieu. He hasn’t yet been able to talk to Field Turf, he said.
Annie Costa, executive director of the Association of Synthetic Grass Installers, said the trade group is looking forward to receiving clear direction on how to handle existing inventories, including what kinds of warnings or health advisories would be appropriate. The industry is already beginning to reformulate the products because of California’s concerns, she said.
In 2007, 20 million square feet of artificial turf was installed in landscapes, lawns, putting greens, day care centers and kennels, among other locations in California; 35 million square feet were installed in sport fields, including football, lacrosse, soccer and field hockey.
San Francisco’s Recreation and Park Department has issued a report that recommends putting in dozens of lead-free artificial turf grass and environmentally sound base materials.
In July, the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission looked at 14 samples from four companies and determined that synthetic turf wasn’t a danger because of lead. However, the agency recommended that companies voluntarily remove it. Some have already begun to phase it out.
The state of New Jersey found high lead levels at community athletic fields, generating an inquiry by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  But more comprehensive lead studies procured by the Center for Environmental Health found lead in artificial turf at worrisome levels, including artificial grass used by residential installers and do-it-yourselfers.
More than 150 samples from two dozen companies tested by an independent lab showed that 30 percent had high lead levels. Ten or more companies had high levels of lead in different varieties of artificial turf. One of the major companies had a sample showing lead at 150 times higher than federal standards that will come into play with new legislation banning lead in children products. The concerns are that children put their contaminated hands in their mouths or breathe in dust from degraded plastic.

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