How afraid should you be of lead artificial turf

The Center for Environmental Health released a report yesterday saying that there are high lead levels in artificial turf. You know, the kind you play sports on.

Not knowing who the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) were, I check wikipedia. No entry. Reading their site will lead you to think they hate all industry. This doesn’t affect what they report, but you should keep it in mind. The impetus for their testing was a CDC report about artificial turf. It is not apparent whether the CEH undertook their study prior to or after the CDC.

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The report is skimpy on information. It boils down to this:

  • They tested 50 products.
  • 15 showed up as having 600 parts per million in lead.
  • They did not list the products that tested less than 600 million.
  • They did not list the actual results of the tests.

Now, I’m not an expert on lead poisining, but I do know that it can cause:

  • Stomach problems
  • Developmental issues
  • Kidney issues
  • Learning disabilities
  • Yep, it’s not pretty.

The odd thing is that the government considers 600 parts per million to be the limit on the safe exposure. Since the group didn’t post the actual results we have no way of framing a context of how bad this issue is right now.

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And this is the issue with reports like this. Many special interest groups will home in on a cause and distribute attention getting studies without major details.

Does lead exposure cause issues? Yes.

Will you get a massive amount of lead exposure in artificial turf? Probably not.



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