Brown asked to weigh-in on artificial turf safety

Chris Amico May 14, 2008, 3:28pm


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-California moved closer to formally warning parents about unsafe chemicals in artificial fields this week.

The state Senate passed a bill calling on state agencies to investigate whether synthetic turf might need a warning sign, following recent reports that found low levels of lead in similar ground cover on the East Coast.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, has asked Attorney General Jerry Brown to look into the issue as well.

That might mean it needs a warning sign, Maldonado says, under California's Proposition 65, a 1986 ballot measure requiring public notice when hazardous chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects are present.

"Thousands of children across the state play on these fields every day of the week. Recent studies conducted in New Jersey and across the nation indicate that there could be seriously problems with these fields," Maldonado said, according to industry publication Athletic Turf News.

"Excessive levels of lead on some older fields in New Jersey prompted the closure of two fields. It is important that we know our children are using safe and healthy playing surfaces."

The bill, SB 1277, would require the Integrated Waste Management Board, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and the State Department of Public Health to study synthetic turf for any adverse health effects.

The Synthetic Turf Council, a trade group, has said synthetic fields are safe.

"There is no scientific evidence of a health risk for children or adults based on recent test results and current knowledge of the chemical structure of aged synthetic turf products," two scientists who performed an evaluation for the group said in a previous statement.

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