"For two years, an abandoned pile of artificial turf had decomposed on a bluff here, a few feet above wetlands that are part of the suburb’s drinking water supply. Nearby, ripped bags with the infill of the turf, tiny pellets of shredded tires, littered the embankment.Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
Public health advocates have long raised alarms about artificial turf pellets, which simulate the give of natural grass but have been shown to contain benzene, cadmium, and other known carcinogens. Now, for the first time, a new series of tests has found that the blades, and their plastic backing, may also contain toxic chemicals.
The test results showed that the turf contained elevated levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals known as PFAS, which have been linked to kidney cancer, low infant birth weights, and a range of diseases. The findings have raised concerns about the safety of millions of square feet of artificial turf installed in recent years on public fields and playgrounds across the country.
“This is huge. It’s the first time that PFAS chemistry used in plastic production has been found in finished consumer products,” said Jeff Gearhart, research director of the Ecology Center, a nonprofit environmental research group based in Michigan that tested the turf. “This finding is maybe the tip of the iceberg. We suspect these PFAS chemicals may be found in other plastic building and consumer products.”
|DAVID L RYAN/GLOBE STAFF/GLOBE STAFF|
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