Turf Wars

As the number of sports teams across Long Island grows, the debate over artificial turf continues to gain traction. Some consider artificial turf the perfect alternative to grass fields for athletics,

News 12 Staff

Jul 2, 2008, 10:58 PM

Updated 5,854 days ago

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As the number of sports teams across Long Island grows, the debate over artificial turf continues to gain traction.
Some consider artificial turf the perfect alternative to grass fields for athletics, while others says it's an environmental and health hazard.
Smithtown Central School District's Athletic Director Patrick Smith recently convinced the district to install two artificial turf fields, which he says are perfect in all kinds of weather and don?t have the rocks and divots that often injure players.
Artificial turf costs more upfront, but needs no water and very little maintenance. However, environmentalists are raising questions about the safety of such fields made of material from recycled tires.
?They get them in their shoes, they get them in their socks, they dump it out when they get home,? Patti Wood, of the group Grassroots Environmental Education, says. ?Whether or not it's getting into their bodies, we just don't know.?
Jim Kilmeade, of Sprinturf, a company that makes artificial turf, says the tires used to make the turf are frozen and that the metals are removed. Therefore, he says, the rubber material kids play on is a neutral, inert substance.
With all the controversy, the artificial turf industry is working hard to let the public know that it?s the older style turf that has tested positive for high lead levels in the past, not their products.
Nevertheless, environmentalists say any type of manmade surface poses a risk to kids and that the best option is organically maintained grass.
?Absolutely no one can tell you that there will be no long term consequences from playing on these fields,? Wood says.
Watch:Part I: Grass vs. artificial turfPart II: How safe is artificial turf?
GrassrootsEnvironmental EducationSpriturf(artificial turf)SyntheticTurf CouncilCenter for Environmental Health ?study


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