Friday, October 30, 2009

California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment Review Verifies Safety of Synthetic Turf

/PRNewswire/ -- Representing the latest convincing data on the safety of synthetic turf, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), California Environmental Protection Agency, released a report last week dated July 2009 which indicated there is a negligible human health risk from inhaling the air above synthetic turf. The OEHHA summary also stated "it is unlikely that the new generation of artificial turf is itself a source of MRSA."

OEHHA searched the available literature related to the safety of new generation artificial turf fields, those which contained crumb rubber infill. They analyzed whether these fields emitted levels of chemicals or particulates into the air that are a health risk when inhaled, and also any potential risk factors for MRSA infection. Based on the data from two 2009 New York studies and a 2006 report of indoor fields, they found that "Both reports concluded that these fields did not constitute a serious public health concern, since cancer or non-cancer health effects were unlikely to result from these low-level exposures." Other key findings included:

-- Analyzing the chemicals detected above the fields in New York, OEHHA
noted that "many of these occurred at similar concentrations in the
air sampled upwind of the fields" - which suggests that the source of
these chemicals was not from the turf fields.


-- Cancer risks are negligible, lower than many common human activities.
OEHHA created a test scenario to determine the exposure and health
risks of an athlete playing on an artificial turf field from age five
until age 55 for nearly 100 chemicals. The results showed an exposure
to five chemicals with a lifetime cancer risk above one in one
million, which is considered a negligible risk. As OEHHA explains
"these estimated risks are low compared to many common human
activities." To give context, their website states that the cancer
risk of breathing California air (in 2000) due to diesel particles was
540 in one million.


-- Synthetic turf is not a source of MRSA. OEHHA stated that "It seems
unlikely that the new generation of artificial turf is itself a source
of MRSA, since MRSA has not been detected in any artificial turf
field." That conclusion is consistent with the findings of the Penn
State January 2009 study conducted on the lifespan of staph on grass
and synthetic turf, which was sponsored by the STC and the
Pennsylvania Turfgrass Council.

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