ERJ staff report (DS)
Piscataway, new Jersey -- 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., an associate dean and professor of environmental and occupational health at the UMDNJ-School of Public Health, examined lead levels in rubber granules from four parks in New York and simulated digestive tract absorption in two of the samples. Zhang is also a member of the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI), a joint institute of the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers University.
â€œEven though the samples had relatively low concentrations of lead in the rubber granules, we observed that substantial amounts of lead - 22.7 and 44.2 percent in the two samples tested - were absorbed into synthetic gastric juices,â€ Zhang said. â€œBecause we know that even low levels of lead can cause neuro-cognitive problems - such as IQ loss - in children, these absorption fractions are meaningful.â€
The findings will appear in the November/December issue of the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. The journal posted the report online on August 27, 2008. The United States currently has about 3,500 synthetic turf fields with new fields being added at the rate of about 1,000 per year.
This is an external link and should open in a new window. If the window does not appear, please check your pop-up blocking software. ERJ is not responsible for the content of external sites.
Abstract of article in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.
Press release from UMDNJ