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Richmond, Virginia

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Zev Antell
Zev Antell
Contributor •

Grass Really is Greener….

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Litigation involving lead paint has been with us for decades. Long ago it became recognized that when ingested, lead could have deleterious effects on the human body. Essentially everyone knows by now it is best to keep our children away from lead and especially important to make sure it does not find a way into their mouths. This is all well and good because less time spent around lead paint probably means more time spent outside. That is, unless your child has reason to be playing on artificial turf. Strange but true, artificial turf prominently contains lead. The lead as an ingredient is said to help the turf maintain its green color. According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, California, along with the city of Los Angeles, have filed suit against three turf producers alleging they failed to disclose the existence of lead in their product in violation of state law.

Artificial turf, while the bane of many sports fan’s existence, is undeniably versatile. It allows schools and parks to keep fields open with little concern about wear and tear. Turf fields do not need to reseeded, mowed, or relined, and they can be used in the heaviest of rains without developing a single puddle. The only major safety concern up until now had been the occasional injury knee injury and constant rug burns. At least where older fields are concerned, that may no longer be the case.

The times article stated that the lead contained in artificial turf only becomes dangerous as a field ages and the lead takes on dust like properties. Once that happens, it can make its way into the blood stream through contact with skin or even through normal breathing. Kids are not the only ones whom lead is said to harm. It has been linked to cancer and reproductive health problems.

No one is suggesting we stop enjoying the outdoors or stop playing sports, but that turf field we thought would last forever may need replacing sooner rather than later.