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QuestionAnswerAnswer Name
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Hello, I was wondering if there is any type of artificial turf that is not toxic (i.e., non-PFAS, etc.) - thank youIt is a plastic carpet. Which distintegrates into the air soil, water and human players from the time it is installed. The chemical and heavy metal additives go along with it. So no.
Kathleen Michels
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Is there a white-paper with references that you can please send us a link for that documents the case against artificial turf?We will send references after the webinar . But please check out various links including www.safehealthyplayingfields.org and www.sierraclub.org/maryland/synthetic-turf and www.ehhi.org , and www.beyondplastics.org
Kathleen Michels
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Could one of the panelists kindly comment on the impact of the EPA's recent designation of PFAS as a hazardous material under CERCLA? Will this rule help those of us who want to prevent plastic grass installation in our communities?I think it is unclear still for this application, but it is potentially useful. Again , only applies to PFOA & PFOS.

In its Final Rule, EPA officially designated PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under CERCLA, meaning that retroactive, strict, and joint and several liabilities could apply to:

-Current owners and operators of facilities contaminated with these PFAS.
-Past owners and operators of facilities at the time of a PFOA or PFOS release.
-Persons who “arranged for disposal” or treatment of PFOA or PFOS.
-Certain transporters of these PFAS.

To establish liability, EPA (in its enforcement role) or private plaintiffs must still demonstrate that a “release” or “threatened release” of a “hazardous substance” from a “facility” caused them to incur cleanup costs.
Jeff Gearhart
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Apologies for all the questions -- but do we really believe that getting rid of crumb rubber (as Amy Griffin is talking about) will help? In DC, the government prohibits crumb rubber, but I don't think that solves our issues or my concerns about health.Exactly why Kyla and I focused on the problems with the plastic carpet
Kathleen Michels
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Does cork infill (versus tire infill) alleviate carcinogenic concerns?the cork is sourced from Morocco and Portugal where there is heavy pesticide use on Oak Cork orchards.cork also requires water, and floats! iIt is also now being coated or mixed with polymer (plastic) resin. Plant based infills add an additional 70% to greenhouse gas off-gassing. Dianne WoelkeAlso see https://nontoxicdovernh.wordpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/pfas-testing-721-galbraith-cc-samples.pdf
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I recently saw some news coverage that said the cancer data on Amy’s List was not statisically significant. Could Amy please respond?Live answered during Q&A
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Is there any research yet on TPE fill (which is made with polyvinyl chloride), and what happens when that starts to wear out?
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Please provide the reference for the Environmental Pollution study showing 15% of plastics in rivers and oceans are from plastic turf.De Haan, William P., Rocío Quintana, César Vilas, Andrés Cózar, Miquel Canals, Oriol Uviedo, and Anna Sanchez-Vidal. “The Dark Side of Artificial Greening: Plastic Turfs as Widespread Pollutants of Aquatic Environments.” Environmental Pollution 334 (2023): 122094. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2023.122094
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Sports Field Partners states that they have a new synthetic turf construction that does not use PFAS. Are you familiar with their product?Live answered Kyla Bennett
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I'm trying to fight a plastic turf install in my community. I was asked if it is accurate to say that all plastic turft has PFAS?So far, yes. All we have tested have PFASKyla Bennett
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Regarding the toxic substances, my school district would say, “Yeah, but we have to use chemicals to maintain our grass fields.” Help me counter that, please.I trust that the current speaker on organic turf management is answering your question.Tracy Frisch
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How can that be hotter than asphalt?
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They're saying that synthetic turf can now be made with soybeans...what do we know about that and what infill is being used? Thank you!Green, Laura C. Ph.D., D.A.B.T. “Risks to Public Health from Chemicals Found in Brock Infill and in Soil at Playing Field.” January 12, 2021. https://www.mvcommission.org/sites/default/files/docs/Laura%20Green%20Health%20Risk%20Assessment_Brockfill%20and%20MV%20Soils_Jan%2012_2021.pdf

This presentation to Martha’s Vineyard Commission in MA demonstrates the presence of PFAS in organic wood chip infills sold as BrockFill.
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Could you send us a citation for the grass vs. plastic grass costs? We need those numbers to fight our local government!Safe Healthy Playing Fields Inc. “Costs: Grass vs. Synthetic Turf.” https://www.safehealthyplayingfields.org/cost-grass-vs-synthetic-turf.

Sustainable Silicon Valley. “Exergy TV 3.1.24: The High Costs of Fake Plastic Fields.” YouTube Video. March 4, 2024. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kk2YQXKqbR0&ab_channel=SustainableSiliconValley.

Wolff, Megan J., Ph.D. MPH. et al. “Subject: Exclusion of Synthetic Turf Fields from Central School District Capital Improvement Plan.” December 14, 2023. https://drive.google.com/file/d/18hwzkScZ5zmmDmVQmnvJFgjs6Nx-cV4p/view?usp=sharing

This letter was addressed to the New Paltz Central School District Board of Education in New York, expressing opposition to the district's proposal to incorporate artificial turf into new athletic facilities. Notably, it highlights Cornell University's own cost analysis, available on their website, illustrating that artificial turf is significantly more expensive to maintain compared to natural grass.
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What about the arguments that artificial turf is more environmentally friendly due to water usage?Addressed live by Dr. Kyla Bennett during her presentation.Tracy Frisch
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Realistically, how can artificial turf be phased out - with all these companies and fields making/using it?Addressed live by Dr. Kyla Bennett during her presentation.
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Can someone provide a summary analysis of the EPA recent released FRAP study on crumb rubber? The synthetic turf and tire are highly praising it. I cannot find any critical analysis of the study. https://www.epa.gov/chemical-research/federal-research-recycled-tire-crumb-used-playing-fields-and-playgroundsThere is a lot that could be said to crtique this study.  EPA's own conclusions are pretty critical to start with:

5.5 Conclusions
Based on these modeling exercises, we report the following observations regarding the accuracy and uncertainties in exposure estimates for athletes using synthetic turf fields:
• The data are not adequate to support probabilistic exposure modeling approaches.
• Current exposure estimates are somewhat limited by the lack of exposure scenarios that more fully account for actual activity levels and types and frequencies of contact, and their differences among sport types (e.g., football vs. soccer) and specific positions (e.g., goalkeepers) that likely involve higher rates of contact with turf materials.
• There are limited or no data available for some of the important parameters needed to estimate exposures for athletes using synthetic turf fields with tire crumb rubber infill. 
Jeff Gearhart
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Is there any available information on supposedly “PFAS-free” turf marketed by companies like TenCate?Spinturf: Non-Toxic Dover, Non-Toxic Portsmouth (2020). Public Records Request Confirms PFAS in Synthetic Turf: Turf Fiber Report Release. Non-Toxic Dover (Dover, New Hampshire); online publication https://nontoxicdovernh.wordpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/turf-fiber-test-results-sprint-turf-1.pdf Also see Jeff Gearhart's letter: https://nontoxicdovernh.wordpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/june1_portsmouthpfas.pdf https://nontoxicdovernh.wordpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/totalflabreport120355.pdf Kyla Bennett's letter: https://drive.google.com/file/d/10ZQayc15_pUBkKXkhyh2ZxfNTtH7p7CY/view
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Can you share links to recent studies showing injury rate. I need to combat some older tests that community members carry around showing no increased injury rate. I know these are older testsWe will do- the studies showing most difference are mostly industry funded studies. but again be aware of not being distracted into arguing with them only about one problem with synturf (in this case injurty ) when there are 4 more categories/reasons not to expose children or athletes or the environment to them (heat, hardness, toxicity , waste/disposal in addition to injury)
Kathleen Michels
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Plastic “thatch”, Artifiicial Plastic “Turf”, Plastic “Grass” Toxic Plastic “Grass”. None of it is natural. Please communicate it in non industry terms, when communicating about it in your communities. Call it what it is, and queston the use of organic definitions by adding quotes . They are trying to communicate about synthetic and artificial “turf” in a way that it sounds benign. Definition of Turf: “a surface layer of land consisting of grass and the earth in which its roots grow”YES! exactly so. The industry is expert at marketing and has coopted the word "turf" which formerly just meant grass. Plastic carpeting of fake grass just doesnt sound as nice.
Kathleen Michels
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There are two arguments I’ve heard given for the preference for artificial turf fields:
Please comment on how to counter these perceived benefits.
1. LESS MANAGEMENT for the school maintenance department (no grass cutting, no field painting, no pesticide application, etc)
2. EXTENDED USE of artifical turf field, for example, the field can be quickly configured for more than one sport or activity. In other words football fields can be used later in day for band practice, or baseball or something else). Also no soggy fields.
thats one of the myths. Synthetic turf not maintained becomes quickly to hard and unsafe. It needs to be groomed, sanitized, metals need to be removed, infill needs to be topped up, whole carpet needs to be replaced. It costs almost as much as grass maintenance if actually done- as it should be for health and safety
Kathleen Michels
Often left out of cost comparisons is the maintenance, infill replacement, GMax testing (for hardness), repairs, removal and replacement (every 8-10 years on average). When properly installed and maintained, natural grass fields can last 25-30 years. Organic management makes them even more cost effective over time. Do not underestimate the health care and liability costs associated with plastics, increased injuries, and environmental impact it takes for plastic fields to decomposed (research indicates 1k years) lack of maintenance of plastic fields can void a waranty in very short order! Record requests from across the country reveal little to zero maintenance being done, including GMax testing. As a retired advanced practice nurse and public health nurse, I would be far more concerned about the human and environmental health impacts of plastics and plastic turf. There are also electric and battery powered (zero emission) equipment available that reduces time and #of people required to maintain natural grass. Turf managers can manage, on average, 5 sports fields. The problem lies in using gardeners and landscaping personel who do not properly maintain natural grass fields.Dianne Woelke
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For non-sports field applications, New York City Parks Department uses in parks and playgrounds, what they call « tufted nylon carpet with no infill ». They refuse to detail what’s in the product or the manufacturer, but does anyone have insight on what may be in that product and any risks it may carry?All the chemicals in plastics including endocrine and immune system disuptors such as Phthalates and PFAS , UV inhibtor chemicals, Frlame retardants and more. and of course the microplastics that constantly shed from the plastic carpet are all harmful to children and the environment. PLUS heat. Unless they are shading all these plastic carpets fully they are subjecting the children to temperatures hotter than asphalt
Kathleen Michels
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Cornell agronomists were early developers of Integrated Pest Management and environmental engineers at Cornell’s Center for Environmental Research
were early developers of non-toxic turf grass management (in the 1908s). I assume there are relevant experts still associared with Cornell and with Cornell Cooperative Extension. Have any CURRENT Cornell staff chimed in on real grass vs plastic?
Our emails sent to Cornell departments usually go unanswered, so we reached out to experts outside of Cornell. Given that we are opposing Cornell University's proposed plan for artificial turf, we wanted to avoid potential conflicts of interest in the presentation. Therefore, we sought independent experts outside of Cornell for this webinar.Yayoi Koizumi
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