Monday, December 21, 2015

Wrestling with Synthetic Turf

Recent news reports about the potential toxicity of synthetic turf playing fields have raised concerns for parents, coaches and young athletes about the long-term impact of exposure. Supporters of synthetic turf fields cite their durability, all-weather availability and low maintenance costs as factors in their favor.

But evidence is growing that these fields - particularly the recycled tire crumb rubber used to cushion their surface - present real and significant risks to young athletes, who are more vulnerable to environmental toxins than adults.

Does anyone really know for certain? Establishing cause-and-effect proof in the world of environmental exposures is almost impossible, as we are all exposed to so many toxins in our everyday life. And it can take decades for researchers to design studies, secure funding, conduct their analysis and publish the results.

In the meantime, it might be wise to adopt the Precautionary Principle that every parent knows instinctively: strong evidence of harm, rather than absolute proof of harm, should be the trigger for action. In other words, better safe than sorry.

A new video about the potential health risks of synthetic turf is available now on YouTube. If the controversy over synthetic turf has reached your school, this is definitely something you should watch.

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