Letter: Effects of artificial turf not fully known

To the Editors:
The artificial turf issue should concern all of us.
There is a mounting body of evidence pointing to the health issues from use of artificial turf playgrounds and playing fields. The growing evidence is causing communities around our country and professional sports franchises to remove artificial turf playing fields.
Most studies cited by proponents are narrow and funded by industry or waste bureaus dealing with the massive scrap tire problem (300 million takeoffs annually) including the EPA. In 2003 the EPA partnered with California, other states and rubber manufacturers to create the Scrap Tire Workgroup. It promoted the use of recycled tires, including in playgrounds. To counter toxicity and volatility concerns, the EPA was designated the chief marketer compiling studies to respond to health and safety concerns.
In 2009 the EPA issued a study on the health effects of crumb rubber, saying it found low levels of concerns. But in 2013, the EPA backed off that statement saying the study was limited in scope and that no conclusions should be drawn from it. In 2014 the EPA ended all involvement with the Scrap Tire Workgroup.
Proponents of turf at Middlebrook School point to a five-year-old narrow study of five fields conducted by the Connecticut Department of Public Health that states “Thus it appears that the current results are reasonably representative of conditions that can be encountered at indoor and outdoor crumb rubber fields, although this tentative conclusion could benefit from the testing of additional fields.”
Would you close on the purchase of a home for your children on a tentative conclusion from the title insurer?
Woodson Duncan
Middlebrook Farm, July 21