LETTER: Resident Worries About Lead Contained in Artificial Turf


(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?

Bruce Coltin
Marion Road, Watertown


(Send your Letters to the Editor to watertownmanews@gmail.com, include your name and street)

13 thoughts on “LETTER: Resident Worries About Lead Contained in Artificial Turf

  1. Hold on… where’s the part showing that there’s any lead at all in the field? I’m on board with the sentiment here but I’m not so sure all this concern is warranted. Are we sure about the presence of lead in the first place?

  2. I have the same question that Jeffrey asked. Is there indeed lead in the artificial turf? If so I am total agreement with the author of this letter. If not, then what gives?

  3. Please understand it is a free country and residents can say or write what they want.

    Unfortunately, with the addition of social media and all the other avenues of communication, there is a lot of information that is shared that is incorrect, taken out of context, just pure fabrication or bias.

    It is our responsibility as readers to seek the truth and hold accountable those who share information that is misleading or untrue to support their agenda.

    The safety of our residents, especially our children, including mine is critical and if I thought there is a chance of ill effects from the use of artificial turf, I would be the first one in line to remove it from Victory Field. Thankfully there is not, so lets stick with the facts.

    There is a reason why so many Cities and Town in our region and across the country have installed multiple artificial turf fields to assist in meeting the recreational needs of its users.

    The addition of artificial turf at Victory field in November 2011 has been a major benefit to our community and has created an opportunity for more use by our residents as well as improved the equity of use for this facility.


    Peter Centola
    25 Thurston Road

    • Peter, did you read the links? Whether to use artificial turf can be debated, but to say that there is no chance it is harming kids is silly, wishful thinking, and proof that you have a major bias here. The plastic/rubber turf is cheaper and easier, unfortunately the almighty dollar and has some towns to us it to to use it. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Fortunately, the major potential drawbacks are becoming widely known and many are switching back to regular old grass. We don’t know to expose our kids, and their growing bodies, to unnecessary junk like turf. Grass is best.

  4. There is a lot of evidence against artificial turf, but beside that, how about the simple fact that the land covered in fake grass becomes off-limits to casual use?!! It gets fenced, locked, and yes- you can use it if you PAY! In a town that has very little open space, where many kids don’t have yards. It is ridiculous.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *