To the editor:

What you don’t know really can hurt you.

Fact: Artificial turf is gross!

Snot, blood, sweat, vomit, mold, animal droppings and other bacteria grow on the plastic blades and get into the infill. Chemical disinfectants are continuously required to keep it clean along with frequent washings.

1) Turf has been associated with an increased risk of infections and MRSA can be contracted from scrapes when sliding on the field as it does not contain the organisms that can break down some of these contaminates.

2) All of the 2003 St. Louis Rams MRSA cases were backtracked to friction burns from the artificial turf.

3) On top of that, spraying with weed killer is needed to keep the weeds and grasses from taking root on the fields. We should be very concerned that our children will be coming into close and constant contact with any of this.

Fact: Artificial turf can hurt:

While studies are still being done on the relationship between physical injuries and use of artificial turf there are some facts you cannot deny.

1) There are now only three of the 30 MLB fields with turf and many of the NFL teams have returned to grass since 2010 due to injuries and a hotter playing field.

2) Brett Farr has produced a documentary on just how hard turf fields can become when not properly maintained and how that relates to head injuries. Concussions in children can affect the rest of their lives.

Fact: Artificial turf may affect your health:

Turf is still in the “let’s see how it goes” stage in that there are no time tested studies regarding repercussions of playing on this type of field, most especially in children. But there are some facts we can verify:

1) Lead is present in the rubber crumbs, the plastic grass and the paint pigment used to paint the lines and logos — no lead intake in children is acceptable.

2) There has not yet been a proven link between breathing the infill rubber pellets and particles (which are made up of various chemicals that are known to cause cancer) that puff up into the air when a child lands on the field and cancer, but it is certainly possible.

3) Soccer goalies in the Women’s World Cup had a higher rate of blood cancer than normal after playing on artificial turf and at least five baseball players died from an aggressive brain cancer in their 50’s. That is 3.1 times higher than the national rate. It certainly makes you wonder. After all that, do you really want your child to fall face first into an artificial turf?

Fact: Artificial turf is not pro environment:

Even with the use of the recycled tires for the infill, turf is not a good choice. Sadly the rubber infill and synthetic fibers from fraying plastic, which are subject to wear, can be washed into the environment and our water supplies.

1) Actually, second only to tire and roadway particles, turf pellets are a major source of rubber pollution.

2) After the six to eight years of use it currently costs $1 to $2.50 a square foot to send the turf to a land fill, if you can get one to take it. That’s over $625,000 for all the intended fields.

3) To offset the carbon footprint you would need to plant 1,861 trees for just one football field. We would need a forest to cover the six fields DeKalb wants.

We should not be in such a rush, when it concerns our children’s health, in keeping up with the Jones.

Valerie Hunter


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