A study by USA Today has found high levels of lead in artificial turf layered with rubber crumbs that is often used at U.S. schools, playgrounds and daycares. Although lead exposure is of concern for anyone, it is particularly so for children who may ingest contaminated turf fibers and crumbs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state, “no safe blood lead level in children has been identified.” It is well-known that lead exposure in children can cause developmental delays and damage to organs and the nervous system.
Similar concerns about artificial turf have arisen in Canada. Toronto Public Health recently issued a position statement on the matter, which says, “The use of third generation artificial turf is not expected to result in exposure to contaminants at levels that pose a significant risk to human health provided it is properly installed and maintained and users follow good hygienic practices.” In addition, the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment (CPCHE), a national coalition of organizations of which Pollution Probe is a founding member, is currently exploring this issue specifically in relation to children’s health. If you are concerned about the turf in your area, the only way to check on lead levels is to ask for it to be tested.