Expert submission on the potential toxicological effects of artificial turf

Dr Gavin Edwards is a  Senior Lecturer in the School of Chemistry at a major Australian University (UNSW) with qualifications in the areas of organic and medicinal chemistry.  He taught senior level environmental toxicology at UNSW and also lives in Dulwich Hill, near Arlington Reserve.

Dr Edwards has written a very detailed submission to Marrickville Council regarding the proposal to install artificial turf.

You can download the PDF of Dr Edwards’ submission.

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One Response to “Expert submission on the potential toxicological effects of artificial turf”

  1. Michael Quincy Says:

    While I respect Dr. Edwards’ qualifications, he sites no actual facts in this letter. As a facility manager whose taken care of both natural grass fields, and the newer generation artificial turf, I can tell you that it is much cheaper to maintain the artificial fields. Its not even close, the savings in water costs alone will have our field paid for inside of 10 years. Never mind the additional revenue that comes from being able to use the turf more often.

    In consecutive paragraphs Dr. Edwards complains about artificial turf potentially limiting the activities that can be performed on the field, and then complains about the traffic problems created by making the field more accessible. Certainly traffic would be a consideration, but you can’t turn around and complain that the artificial turf is limiting at the same time.

    In The U.S. and Canadian governments have extensively studied the safety of artificial turf. Anytime you’re dealing with a product that may have some lead in it, there’s clearly a concern. Almost all of these studies have concluded that the lead in these fields is far below the threshold that could be considered even a minor health threat. Beyond that, newer fields contain virtually no lead and are considered 100% safe for all. See: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/2009-06-02-artificial-fields-study_N.htm

    Heat has always been the biggest problem with these fields. It can be up to 15% hotter on these fields than it is in the surrounding environment. A major issue to be sure. Luckily Astroturf has come up with a new product that reflects sunlight more like natural grass and keeps temperatures down. I’m sure that other manufacturers are sure to follow. If you’re performing a new installation, this is the direction you should be going. See: http://www.astroturfusa.com/resources/pdfs/astroflectrelease.pdf

    Despite all this I still prefer natural grass. It’s certainly more pleasant to sit on and enjoy, but lets not let our preference for natural grass get in the way of actual facts.

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