(The following was presented to the Town Council on Sept. 26)
So, we need more artificial turf for our kids.
Really?According to the Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and the Mayo Clinic, there is NO safe level of lead, especially for children.
A child’s brain and nervous system are in the process of developing. Biologically, even high school athletes are still children.
Lead is cumulative. When a child ingests or inhales lead dust or fumes, some of that lead is excreted and some of it is stored in the body, where it remains for the rest of that child’s life. When a child’s brain or organs are damaged by exposure to lead, that damage is irreversible.
Lead poisoning can cause severe illnesses, such as seizures and brain damage, but more commonly, the result, though less noticeable, can still be devastating — learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and permanently lower IQ points.
We should not be comforted by children who play on artificial turf and do not show immediate symptoms. Brain, nervous system, and organ damage can surface years or decades later.
When representatives of the turf industry are questioned about lead in their fields, one common response is: Any lead in our fields is below toxic levels.
There is no such thing.
I am holding in my hand an ordinary packet of sweetener. According to the EPA, if this packet was filled with lead dust, instead of sweetener, and sprinkled on one-third of a football field, that portion of the field would be considered contaminated.
How many packets of lead dust are covering our current artificial turf field?
What are the effects of that lead dust, when combined with the chemicals contained in the rubber infill, the plastic blades, and the carpet, as well as the maintenance chemicals that are sprayed on to the field?
How many child IQ points and brain cells should this community be willing to risk in order to satisfy the demand of some coaches for more access to plastic playing fields?
Marion Road, Watertown
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