ERJ staff report (DS)
New York -- A new report from the New York City Department of Health and written by a consultancy company claims that the risks associated with artificial turf increase with increasing temperatures, due to the heat-absorption characteristics of the rubber infill material.
The consultancy, TRC Environmental Corp. of Windsor, Connecticut, carried out a literature search and commented, "The primary health concern with the use of synthetic turf fields is the potential for causing physical health effects associated with heat stress and dehydration," on the users of the sportsfield. The company recommended that "field operators assess the feasibility of adding shaded areas and easy access to drinking water near playing fields." The researchers added, " It is also recommended that field operators educate field management staff, coaches and athletic staff, field users, and parents on the potential for heat-related illnesses, and how to recognize and prevent heat-related symptoms and illness."
In terms of dangers from chemical emission and leaching, the researchers said, "COPC (Chemical of potential concern) concentrations from the crumb rubber vary depending on the type of crumb rubber, the method of extraction used for analysis, and the media measured (crumb rubber, air, leachate)."
TRC noted that there is no consistent test method for determining the chemicals in crumb rubber made from different source materials and from different processing techniques.
The researchers also noted that there is little data on outdoor air concentrations of COPCs on newly installed and older synthetic turf fields. Most of the data, said TRC, has been generated from indoor synthetic turf facilities.
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Full report from New York City Department of Health