Save Our Neighbourhood Parks

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The Vancouver Park Board is proposing to install 5 new lit synthetic turf fields adding to 12 existing artificial fields in Vancouver. The
proposed locations are Clinton Park, Beaconsfield Park, Hillcrest Park, Kitsilano Secondary School and Churchill Secondary School.

We, the undersigned, have the following serious concerns as to the social and environmental impacts of artificial turf fields.

• Costly synthetic fields prioritize paid-users, while the larger community comes second. We believe that fields must be accessible and
open for everybody’s health and enjoyment.

• The environmental and health impacts are considerable and include, but are not limited to: off-gassing and toxins that children and others
will inhale or come into contact with (Vancouver’s Public Health and Chief Medical Heath Officer recommends that players wash after
contact with synthetic fields); microplastics that can wash into our waterways and migrate into our environment; massive amounts of
additional landfill from expired turf (10yr lifespan), and increased stormwater run-off; loss of natural greenspaces that serve as carbon
sinks, maintain good air quality and regulate temperature. Trees, plants, soil, insects, birds, animals and humans benefit from grass.

The new synthetic field proposal is inconsistent with the Park Board's mission statement to “provide, preserve, and advocate for parks to
benefit all people, communities and the environment.” In a fast-growing city like Vancouver every inch of green space is precious. We all
deserve to enjoy safe and healthy natural parks kept free from known toxins, carcinogens and plastic.

Social Impact of Synthetic Turfs
Fields are fenced. Permits are required to use the fields resulting in the larger community not in organized sports to lose access to the field. No food, bikes , or dogs are allowed on the fields making the field exclusive for paid-users.

Health Concerns with Synthetic Turf; Health Impact Assessment of the Use of Artificial Turf in Toronto
• Artificial turf users may be exposed to the rubber particles and other hazardous components through several routes of exposure e.g. ingestion, inhalation, contact/dermal uptake
• Skin sensitivity to plastics, asthma, cancer, etc.
• Young children who may be at higher risk of directly ingesting or experiencing hand-to-mouth exposure.
• Cleaning materials used on artificial turf (i.e. sanitizers may be toxic).
• Regular disinfection/sanitation is required, as pathogens/algae are not broken down (e.g. blood, sweat, animal droppings/urine, etc);
• Survival of bacteria on artificial turf (i.e. Staphylococcus aureus and Methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA)).

How synthetic turf surfaces contribute to climate change; and

Each synthetic turf surface:
1. Creates “heat island” effect: Synthetic turf and surfaces undesirably absorb, retain and emanate heat at temperatures and rates that are harmful to the environment.

2. Generates carbon dioxide et al: The manufacturing, installation, service and disposal of a 2-acre artificial turf field facility are responsible for the generation of a total of 55.6 tons of carbon dioxide, in addition to other greenhouse gases and pollutants.

3. Increases carbon footprint: Removes natural grass surfaces which eliminate the ability of that surface to reduce carbon dioxide by converting it into oxygen.

4. Contributes hydro carbon off gassing that puts bad stuff in our lungs: The thermodynamics of the turf in winter and summer conditions accelerates the breakdown of the synthetic grass fibers and rubber crumb into dust particles, which easily can be inhaled or ingested by children. Artificial turf releases more greenhouse gases in its production, transportation and processing than the maintenance of natural turf ever could.

5. Increases reliance on dirty fossil fuels: The production process for artificial turf is for the most part fueled by fossil fuels, as is its installation, after-sale maintenance and eventual disposal protocols.

6. Makes a hazardous waste cocktail: Hazardous materials include ingredients in the polyethylene/polypropylene blades, the crumb rubber infill, and ingredients in maintenance products like disinfectants, anti-static cling treatments, and solvents for seam repair. Recycled crumb rubber contains a number of chemicals that are known or suspected to cause adverse health effects. The most common types of synthetic rubber used in tires are composed of ethylene-propylene and styrene-butadiene combined with vulcanizing agents, fillers, plasticizers, and antioxidants in different quantities, depending on the manufacturer. Tire rubber contains metals (zinc, selenium, lead, and cadmium), phthalates, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

7. Degrades water quality: Increases stormwater runoff while degrading the quality of the water entering our storm drains and streams. Synthetic surface pollutant runoff in the form of rubber granules directly into storm and sewer drains, rivers and other bodies of water, and as seepage (as leachate) into ground and/or ground water and wells. Natural grass absorbs carbon dioxide, produces a cooling effect, and filters rain & storm water.

8. Ends up in a landfill: One artificial turf field contains approximately 120 tons of crumb rubber or 26,000 recycled tires. Typically, when a synthetic field is replaced, the old field is sent to a landfill. There are no real disposal issues with grass field.

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