Letter: Evidence mounts against turf fields

To the Editors:
In a previous letter to the editor, I pointed out that a growing body of evidence pointed to the health risks associated with artificial turf, causing early proponents like the EPA to distance themselves from support of artificial turf fields, Major League sports teams to replace it, and worldwide professional athletes in a number of sports to protests its use.
It is also important to point out that [recycled] tires contain a lot of carbon fiber. Carbon fibers were linked to mesothelioma, a cancer associated with asbestos. Mesothelioma takes 30 to 40 years to develop.
The evidence continues to grow.
In April of this year our Inland Wetlands Commission approved a proposal to allow artificial turf to move forward at Middlebrook School.
In June of this year the findings of the chemical analysis conducted by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies of crumb rubber tire infill used in synthetic turf, and rubber tire mulch used as surfacing material in toddler playgrounds, was released. Turf samples were soaked in water. An examination showed there were 96 chemicals found in 14 samples analyzed. Half of those chemicals had no government testing on them — so we have no idea whether they are safe or harmful to health. Of those chemicals found that have had some government testing done on them, these are the findings with their health effects. Eleven of the chemicals are known carcinogens. Twenty are irritants.
Would Inland Wetlands have approved the proposal with the most recent evidence in front of them? I hope not.
Now the body of evidence has reached critical mass. Just recently two heavy-weight class action law firms — Millberg, LLP and Morgan and Morgan — have entered the discussion. These are firms that do not waste their time! They are looking for plaintiffs.
I certainly hope the town can come to its senses on such an important health issue for the town’s children, and reject the installation of artificial turf at Middlebrook School.
Woodson Duncan
Middlebrook Farm Road, Sept. 8