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Exposures to Lead and Other Metals from Artificial Turf Playing Fields

Posted at 3:09 pm August 15, 2011, in EOHSI Research

EOHSI faculty member Stuart Shalat and NJ DEP scientist Alan Stern reported on the results of their joint study entitled “An Evaluation of Potential Exposures to Lead and Other Metals as the Result of Aerosolized Particulate Matter from Artificial Turf Playing Fields.”

piper1Abstract: In response to numerous community concerns starting in 2008 regarding the safety of artificial turf fields, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) funded a study by the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI) to measure lead (Pb) concentrations in wipe samples and in air at artificial turf fields. Sampling was conducted at five fields in New Jersey using an autonomous, programmable robot that agitated the turf surface and collected air samples above the turf in the breathing zone of a child. Other potentially toxic metals were also measured including chromium, cadmium and arsenic. Although considerable efforts were made to gain access to more fields, schools and community facilities were reluctant to participate. Pb was significantly elevated at one of the five fields. Although the measured levels of Pb at this field did not approach standards for protection of health, the small number of fields sampled makes it difficult to generalize the conclusions of this study to other artificial turf fields. On the basis of these results, it is recommended that artificial turf fields, particularly those older than three years, be screened for Pb using wipe sampling. If wipe samples show elevated levels of Pb, more intensive sampling of air with agitation of the turf is recommended.

Download the full Project Summary here.


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