On April 30th, 2015, WSB-TV (Atlanta) released a story titled “CPSC no longer stands by safety of artificial turf”. The statement was driven by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a disruptive lobby group that has taken on a fight against the synthetic turf industry.
The story refers to the 2008 agency article titled “CPSC Staff Finds Synthetic Turf Fields OK to Install, OK to Play On” and cites a change in agency position. The change itself was mischaracterized by WSB-TV and intimates that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has changed their position with respect to the safety of artificial turf. This is certainly not the case. Here are the facts:
- What CPSC issued in 2008 was an official press release based on an investigation and analysis of the lead content of turf fields.
- CPSC staff conducted testing on samples collected as part of an official investigation which was initiated by concerns from the State of New Jersey.
- CPSC staff concluded that artificial turf was safe for kids to play on.
- CPSC has indeed revised their statement to limit it to the specific issues that they studied (lead in turf), but they have absolutely not pulled their statement. The CPSC posted the following statement on their website as an amendment to the 2008 report:
o Note: CPSC staff advises consumers to read and interpret the following press release carefully. The press release announces that CPSC staff evaluated certain samples from synthetic athletic fields in 2008, and determined at that time that young children were not at risk from lead exposure on synthetic fields. As noted in the linked evaluation, staff’s assessment was subject to specified limitations including sample size. The exposure assessment did not include chemicals or other toxic metals, beyond lead. CPSC staff continues to recommend that children wash their hands after playing outside, including after using synthetic athletic fields.
We have met with the CPSC commissioners in the past and have shared all of the relevant research related to the safety of synthetic turf. Our position has not changed with respect to the safety of our products. Scientific research from academic, federal and state government organizations has unequivocally failed to find any link between synthetic turf and cancer.
We are committed as a company and as an industry to the safety of our fields and the athletes that compete on them – which is why we have encouraged the rigorous work from third-parties, which has taken place over decades, to confirm there are no negative health effects connected to synthetic turf. We are always open to sharing this available wealth of research with concerned individuals or organizations, and are fully confident in this body of findings.