LETTER: Fine Sand, Other Materials in Artificial Turf Worries Resident


(The following was read to the Town Council on Oct. 24)

If you are sitting on a beach on a very windy day and sand blows up your nose, you are likely to sneeze or cough. If you don’t, you will soon have the urge to blow your nose to expel the sand. This is your body’s natural defense system that prevents the grains of sand from moving into your lungs.

Artificial turf manufacturers use sand for cushioning, but it is nothing like beach sand. It is fine-grained industrial sand that can be one hundred times smaller than a grain of beach sand.

Once inhaled as dust, your body’s natural defense system is powerless to keep it out of your lungs and from there out of your bloodstream and out of your kidneys.

Silica sand dust can cause permanent scarring of the lungs, as well as the respiratory disease known as silicosis, and even lung cancer.

When the next artificial turf sales rep knocks on our door to sell us their new and improved plastic playing field, the infill will probably not contain ground up tires, which is now getting a very bad reputation all over the world. Instead, it will likely contain a mixture of coconut husks, cork oak, and fine-grained silica sand.

Coconut husks and Cork oak sound natural and healthy, but when ground into dust and inhaled, they can cause permanent damage to the lungs and serious respiratory illnesses.

Workers exposed to dust from coconut husks, or cork oak, or silica sand are advised by OSHA to protect themselves with gloves, goggles, dust masks or more elaborate respirators.

Allowing the dust to enter the body through cuts and wounds can result in serious infections and other illnesses. Used as alternative infill, these products continuously degrade into fine dust as players stomp on the turf. You can’t see it with the naked eye, but if you could, you would see small clouds of inhalable dust rising into the air during games and practices.

It is ironic that OSHA protects adults in the workplace with guidelines and regulations and prominently displayed warning signs, but for now, there is no OSHA to protect children when those same hazardous materials are poured on to their playing fields.

There are only the adults at the table in front of me, and the adults who will soon take their seats at that table.

Bruce Coltin
Marion Road









2 thoughts on “LETTER: Fine Sand, Other Materials in Artificial Turf Worries Resident

  1. My comment does speak to artificial turf construction, so wherever the following comment fits in . . .

    I want to register my VERY STRONG feeling that money for artificial turf be diverted to renovating the high school, which is now threatened with sanctions if repairs are not made. I do not want to pay an added tax on a bond that may be floated for work on the high school when money is being spent on a field!

  2. Why would anyone go to the beach? Don’t you know the sun exposure can lead to cancer and sunscreens are full of toxins? Here’s other health reasons not to go:
    91% of beaches tested positive for fecal bacteria. Children and adults digging in beach sand were more likely to develop gastrointestinal diseases and diarrhea. Florida found that swimming in subtropical marine waters increased the risk of exposure to staph bacteria by 37 percent. A team of European researchers taking 1,410 samples from nine countries found the presence of viruses nearly 40 percent of the time. Rip current are responsible for more than 100 deaths a year. Inhaling the aerosolized red tide toxins for just an hour, can lead to serious respiratory problems and decreased lung function in an asthmatic. Children taken on beach vacations starting at a young age face a higher risk of developing skin cancer later in life.

    I’m taking my chances on a turf field.. Beaches kill.


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