Eagle: Fake Turf Toxic?


The Brooklyn Eagle reports in today's edition that the tiny pellets used to give the fake grass that the City is rolling out into hundreds of parks, including Cadman Plaza Park, could be toxic to humans and pets:

Brooklyn Eagle: Turf…: The city recently announced plans to carpet nearly 100 more fields with synthetic turf, made springy by a bed of rubber pellets spread beneath their surface. The problem is the lack of conclusive studies on the safety of the pellets, which stick to bloody scrapes and sweaty skin and find their way into socks, said one local professor calling for a moratorium on synthetic turf until more research is conducted. Preliminary testing indicated the rubber pellets, made from recycled tires, contain high levels of polycyclicaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that exceed levels deemed safe by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, according to City College psychology professor William Crain. He conducted the study with chemists from City College and Rutgers University. Crain said the city should stop using synthetic turf, already installed on 70  fields, including Cadman Plaza.

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  • D

    I’m not sure but I believe those little black pellets are better for you then the glass shards that were prevoiusly present.

  • B-girl

    I visited my aunt in New Jersey last week, just across the river. They had a park with REAL grass. Kids were playing on it, grownups too. It was green and lush, even with all of the action. I am told that it is watered when dry and even seeded once in a while, something that Cadman Plaza Park was not.

  • 5w30

    We’d all like a grass field, but the city won’t spare the resources for upkeep. Life is a bunch of compromises. The field at Cadman Plaza is one of them.
    What did the researchers say about rocks, puddles, mud, nails, and broken glass – substances found in the field before it was renovated?

  • BP

    Are they going to open the park up soon? I saw a bunch of porta-potties along the path in the north end of the park today (Saturday). Maybe they’re for the opening day crowds?

    Just read the Eagle article, too, and noticed this, “Several studies have also indicated that synthetic turf gets between 39 and 86 degrees hotter than grass, which can be as unbearable as standing on a giant tire during a sweltering summer day.”

    So? I won’t really be any fun to use the park in the summer?

  • os

    let’ hope they repave the surrounding sidewalks and remove the awful cracked concrete security barrier at the side entrace of the federal court house- all that money spent and they can’t find an appropriate concrete barrier. crazy!!!!

  • Noone of Consequence

    Here’s an article from Channel 7 about the turf (different park, same turf).

    I have noticed that there is some slight rubbery/tire-like odor on the turf when the sun is shining on it. Like the sun heats it up to the point where it emits some gases or something. But, later in the afternoons, in the shade, I haven’t noticed it.

    I think I will limit my time on it unless there is shade or until a more definitive answer is given. Besides, since it’s not real grass, it is noticeably warm after a few hours in direct sunlight. When it’s already in the upper 80s with humidity, who needs the extra heat radiating from the ground?

    I’m curious how they plan to keep it clean. It’s inevitable that organic matter (leaves, sticks, pigeon poop, etc) will get mixed in with the rubber pellets and “grass.” It’s not like you could vacuum it out without sucking up all the rubber pellets, so won’t it just otherwise decay and turn into dirt?

  • Ryan

    For what it’s worth, FIFA says turf w/ recycled tire granules is safe:

    I think turf is an ideal solution for playing fields – and I love the stuff at Cadman plaza.

  • NYer

    Important article, thanks for printing it. It is NOT cheaper to install this stuff and renew it every so many years. That is the main reason it is touted.