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Our City Mayor and Commissioners have been looking into the possibility of replacing the grass on our sports fields with artificial turf, an option that is just NOT SAFE for our children!  Turf is toxic to humans and our environment. As a life-long resident of Cooper City and a mother of two small children, 1 on the way (my son is a 6 year old in CCO Tball for many seasons now), I'm very disappointed that this is even a possibility in our community.  I've always wanted my children to play in CCO Sports as they grew up, just as I did, but a decision like this could leave me (and other parents) to move our children to another city's sports program. I have gathered some research about the health risks of this plastic grass and in-fill base of "crumb rubber". I will include links below... please read the information and be proactive about your children's health.  At this point, it seems that the only commissioner that is highly against this and being very vocal about it, is Commissioner Sims.


High content of toxic chemicals found (but certainly not limited to):  Lead (there is NO safe level of exposure), arsenic (causes cancer to skin, lungs, bladder & kidney), zinc (exposure from the air and water linked to cardiovascular damage), cadmium (one of the most toxic elements to be exposed to, continuous exposure leads to impaired lung function and increased risk of lung cancer), chromium (exposure by inhalation leads to multiple respiratory issues as well as lung cancer), phthalates,and more! CANCER is the scariest word that keeps coming up when discussing the artificial turf!!

Studies have shown that athletes who use synthetic turf are SEVEN times more likely to get turf burns (open skin lesions) than those who play on natural grass, this puts our children at an increased risk of MRSA.

These turf fields need to be washed and cleaned constantly.  If not, blood, sweat, skin cells and other materials remain on the turf creating a bacterial breeding ground.

After a heavy rain (which we know happens a lot in South Florida), the artificial field drains and the run-off (containing lead & zinc, as stated above) could trickle into and contaminate our ground water and drinking water.  So, not only are our children breathing in these harmful chemicals, but now our entire family is drinking them and bathing in them at home. Also, it is recommended not to use the turf fields during extremely hot days (again, we live in South Florida), the turf heats up to extreme temperatures, studies have shown temps could rise above 140 degrees on the fields.

"This new study along with the updated cancer figures should give pause to all those schools, towns, and government agencies that have told the public these fields are safe," said Nancy Alderman, President of Environment and Human Health, Inc. Exposing toddlers, students and athletes to this many carcinogens, often at the same time, seems like an incredibly irresponsible experiment in children's health and should to come to an end."

Relevant Articles/Websites:

Yale doctors and scientists have been studying the chemicals within artificial turf: Gaboury Benoit, Ph.D., Yale Professor of Environmental Chemistry & Engineering and lead investigator of the study says "Not surprisingly, the shredded tires contain a veritable witches brew of toxic substances. It seems irresponsible to market a hazardous waste as a consumer product." Carcinogens found in Yale analysis (EHHI)

"As the turf ages and weathers, lead is released in dust that could then be ingested or inhaled, and the risk for harmful exposure increases. If exposures do occur, CDC currently does not know how much lead the body will absorb; however, if enough lead is absorbed, it can cause neurological development symptoms (e.g., deficits in IQ). Additional tests are being performed by NJDHSS to help us better understand the absorption of lead from these products." Lead: Artificial Turf (CDC)

Children are more susceptible than adults to a variety of environmental hazards, for several reasons: Children's organ systems are developing rapidly. A toxic exposure during a critical window of development can have life-long consequences. Children's detoxification mechanisms are also immature, so an exposure that might not have an important effect on an adult could have an important effect on a child. In addition, children have many years in which to develop disease. Cancer, in particular, is a disease with long latency: disease can develop many years after exposure. For this and other reasons, it is particularly important to avoid carcinogenic exposures during childhood. Risks of Synthetic Turf Fields (EHHI)

Turf fields should not be used on extremely hot days and students should be monitored for heat-induced illness and abrasions. All crumb rubber pellets should be removed from students’ clothing, bodies, and equipment after playing. Students should always wash their hands thoroughly after exposure to the crumb rubber and never lie down or eat on the field. Cocktail of Harmful Chemical (CEH)

"What to know about Artificial Turf Fields" Mount Sinai


Great references:

EHHI: Chemical Analysis

EHHI: Artificial Turf Reports

Synthetic Turf: Health Debate


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