Sunday, March 1, 2020

PFAS verified at 430PMM total flourine by Sprinturf supplied independent testing

From Non Toxic Portsmouth NH:

Consultant Claim: “Two vendors indicated they do not use PFAS in manufacturing and provided documentation to back up those claims.”
Response: Via a Right to Know Request, we requested the documentation for the claims the consultant and city staff made about the two manufacturers of the above-mentioned "PFAS free” fields.

After receiving this documentation from the city Friday afternoon, we discovered that the only “proof” provided by the first vendor, MET, is a sheet of paper containing only a statement asserting that they don't use PFAS. 

Weston & Sampson and the city staff and former staff apparently take this on faith and expect us to as well. The second vendor supplied reports from an independent laboratory, RTI. Their lab results indicate that both the synthetic backing and fibers contain fluorine, proving that PFAS are present, particularly in the fibers. Notably, the second vendor does not discuss this in its test report. These test results confirm the testing reported in the Boston Globe and the Intercept last October.

Environmental scientist Mindi Messmer, a former Democratic State Representative for New Castle and Rye, made the following comment when we shared with her the test results: “Clearly there are other non-target PFAS in these samples. Just because they are not on the list of analytes doesn’t mean they don’t use a regrettable substitution.”

There are roughly 5,000 different types of PFAS. Testing for total fluorine content is the most reliable way to detect the presence of PFAS. The non detectable results for the 30 PFAS compounds that were tested for is not proof of being PFAS free. The total fluorine content means that one or more of the other thousands of PFAS chemicals are present in the turf fiber and backing. These test results show the exact opposite of what Weston & Sampson claims.


Sunday, December 8, 2019

Carbon Nanotubes and Tire Crumb Rubber infill

In 2012, Jim Novak wrote about Nano particles:
"The concern: Carbon black nanoparticles make up 30 per cent or more of car tires; the same tires that are pulverized for creating the tire crumb used on artificial turf playing fields and on playgrounds for children. Engineered carbon nanotubes and other engineered nanoparticles (zinc, titanium, etc.) are often made in specific shapes to give added strength and durability to tires and other goods. It is the long thin nature of engineered carbon nanotubes that has some scientists drawing a comparison between the possible health hazards of tire crumb with asbestos."

Here is a compilation of information on carbon nanotubes:

1.  2017:  Lee Jeremy, & Ramakrishna Seeram. (2017). Carbon Nanotube Wires and Cables: Near‐Term Applications and Future Perspectives. Nanotechnology for Energy Sustainability.
2.  10-4-10:  Mercer, R. R., `Hubbs, A. F., Scabilloni, J. F., Wang, L., Battelli, L. A., Schwegler-Berry, D., … Porter, D. W. (2010). Distribution and persistence of pleural penetrations by multi-walled carbon nanotubes. Particle and Fibre Toxicology, 7, 28.
3.  2-16-16:  Fatkhutdinova, L. M., Khaliullin, T. O., Vasil’yeva, O. L., Zalyalov, R. R., Mustafin, I. G., Kisin, E. R., … Shvedova, A. A. (2016). Fibrosis biomarkers in workers exposed to MWCNTs. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 299, 125–131. 

  • 4-29-16:  Nanotechnology especially carbon nanotubes CNTs as very similar to asbestos, National Association of Insurance Commissioners NAIC   Same conclusion as 12-15 Law360 article from Crowell & Moring on expectation that asbestos law & science will be directly transferred to any future litigation over AT's carbon nanotubes: "If allegations of CNTs in crumb rubber find traction, any challenges or litigation would likely incorporate the world of asbestos medicine and experts.”
  • 12-14-15: “Some recent articles make the claim that crumb rubber may contain carbon nanotubes (CNTs). CNTs have come under scrutiny as posing risks similar to those of asbestos fibers.[14] None of the above or other studies or reports specifically addresses (CNTs), but then there is no confirmed evidence that crumb rubber even contains CNTs. If allegations of CNTs in crumb rubber find traction, any challenges or litigation would likely incorporate the world of asbestos medicine and experts.” [citing M. Jacobs, M.. Ellenbecker, et al., Precarious Promise: A Case Study of Engineered Carbon Nanotubes, Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, University of Mass. (Mar. 2014)]
Excerpt of summary: “Warning signs have emerged, however. CNTs share important physical characteristics with ultrafine air pollution particles as well as with asbestos fibers – both recognized as seriously toxic. Mounting numbers of toxicological studies now demonstrate irreversible health effects in laboratory animals, but it is unclear whether similar effects have occurred in humans exposed at work or through environmental releases.” (Emphasis added by Diana C.   In my opinion “unclear” re: humans, simply means no one is running a controlled study.  But we are definitely running a completely random experiment.)
“It was like a two-legged stool: well founded in physics and chemistry, but flawed by a missing third leg – the biology of the environment [including people].”1(p133) Industrial, agricultural and commercial uses of new synthetic organic chemicals proliferated without attention to public health and environmental impacts. The legacy of this technological revolution is a toxic brew of chemicals that are ubiquitous in the environment and in our bodies, resulting in a litany of environmental and public health problems: cancer, groundwater contamination, hormone dysfunction, asthma, fish kills, birth defects and breast milk contamination. Many of these outcomes can be traced back to the chemists’ knowledge, creativity, and market-driven innovation. At the same time, synthetic organic chemistry resulted in tremendous life-saving and life-improving advances: antibiotics, cancer drugs, plastics, and countless industrial chemicals that enable production of nearly every important technology on which our economies depend. We leave it to historians and ethicists to decide if the explosion in innovation from synthetic organic chemistry was “good.”

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Happy Birthday Lew

Nigel has become a friend to many of us who continue to work towards the truth surrounding synthetic turf toxicity. We’ve had many phone calls. He’s a wonderfully humble Englishman, a medical professional: the former chief executive of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) of Cumbria and most importantly: Dad to Lewis Maguire.
“Lew” as Nigel affectionately calls him, lost his battle with cancer in March of 2018. 
Lew was 20 years old had Hodgkin lymphoma and he was an extraordinary Soccer player.
This man is not just forever heartbroken. He and Lew put themselves out there and did everything from writing the highest level of government to appearing on the international media circuit.

They wanted answers.
They wanted regulation.
They wanted change.
All of this while Lew fought cancer.

If you do one thing today, take the time to watch Dangerous Play (load in Chrome for English)

(Around the 34 minute mark) You’ll see Nigel and Lew standing at the gates of his training fields.....
“It looks very innocent...... it brings back bad memories.......I used to bring Lewis here week in and week out. If I knew then what I know now I would have never walked through those gates.” said Nigel.

Be an advocate for your child, be sure to look at the artificial grass they are playing on. Ask questions and don’t accept empty or vague answers.
We know plenty about tire crumb and now various types of #PFAS has become a true discovery at various levels in artificial grass.

There’s a simply wonderful answer and it’s grass. You have the power and the right to ask your child’s coach, school, town, sports league, soccer club (etc) to put their play on grass.

So what’s true? Nigel said: "I will continue to press for answers, not least because Lewis wanted those answers and I owe it to him to get them." and we’re with you Nigel.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Member of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands tweets answers on PFAS in artifical grass

Kroger's Tweet translated:  "Confirm in response to our parliamentary questions @SvVeldhoven that there #PFAS sit in #kunstgras . No answer to the question of what health risks this entails. In the meantime, the artificial grass mats are piling up further ....."

Parliment member Suzanne Kroger (twitter @suzanne_GL ) has posted the response to Parliment's questions on #PFAS in Artificial Grass.  Responses are from Stientje v Veldhoven  ( twitter @SvVeldhoven ).   Veldhoven is a Dutch politician and former diplomat and civil servant serving as State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management in the Third Rutte cabinet since 26 October 2017.

The  Secretary of State has admitted that the Industry uses PFAS to produce artificial grass.
Therefore it’s in there.
She now asked the EU for a guidance in this subject. En probably there will be a ban to use PFAS to produce artificial grass
She answered in questions asked by our parliament.
She didn’t answer the question about health issues. 
On October 10, I received written questions from member Kröger about PFAS in artificial grass. I hereby send you the answers to the questions asked.

Question 1
Do you know the message "Toxic PFAS Chemicals Found in Artificial Turf"? (1)

Answer 1

Question 2
As far as you know, is polypropylene and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) used in the production of artificial grass used in the Netherlands?

Answer 2
Yes. Fluoropolymers from the PFAS group are used in extrusion processes in the plastics industry, such as in the production of fibers for artificial grass. Due to the wide application of PFAS in a large number of processes and the risks that this poses to the environment and health, the government has opted to work in a European context on phasing out the use of PFAS in non-essential applications via the REACH regulation .

Question 3
Has the PFAS content of artificial grass used in the Netherlands been investigated? If not, are you planning this now that PFAS is a very worrying substance?

Question 4
If Dutch artificial grass is contaminated with PFAS, what are the exposure risks for athletes, employees of artificial grass companies or maintenance staff of artificial grass sports fields?

Question 5
What are the risks for the environment, soil and water, due to leaching of PFAS?

Answer questions 3, 4 and 5
Because PFAS is used worldwide in a large number of products and processes, I have a broad focus on the risks of PFAS. At the moment nothing is known about the specific risks of PFAS in artificial grass in scientific literature and at RIVM and ECHA.
The Minister of IenW and I have promised two investigations into the release of PFAS from different sources. I asked Rijkswaterstaat to do research into (diffuse) discharges from PFAS and the causes thereof. The RIVM is also involved in this. Completion is planned for the second quarter of 2020. In addition, I promised to have a study carried out into PFAS in products, production processes and waste streams. This will be done by Arcadis. This investigation is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020. These investigations have since been started. Given the size of the PFAS group, it is not feasible to include all processes and products that potentially use substances from this group. Based on available literature and previous studies, the scope is focused on products, processes and discharge points with the greatest risk of environmental and health effects due to release of PFAS into the environment and / or human exposure. For the research into PFAS in products, production processes and waste streams, this scope will be further specified in the first phase that has recently started. This will also include the production of plastics and plastic products.

Question 6
What are the risks arising from the processing and recycling of artificial grass?

Answer 6
At the moment nothing is known about the specific risks of PFAS in artificial grass in scientific literature and at RIVM and ECHA. This also applies to its processing and recycling. I will await the aforementioned investigations for this. In a general sense, the Environmental Management Act requires waste processors to take measures to control risks to the environment that they are aware of (or may reasonably be aware of). On behalf of the competent authority, this is supervised by the environmental services.“

Monday, November 18, 2019

FROM YORK DAILY RECORD: 'Running out of room': How old turf fields raise potential environmental, health concerns

'Running out of room': How old turf fields raise potential environmental, health concerns

As fields are replaced, billions of pounds of rubber and synthetic fiber are piling up because the U.S. has no plan for disposing of this product

Candy Woodall, York Daily Record Updated 4 hours ago

The hulking wall of rubber was first discovered by a borough maintenance crew.
 About 6,000 rolled pieces were neatly stacked about 10 feet high, covering more than an acre of private land, according to the mayor of Cleona, Pennsylvania.
The green blades of artificial grass peeking through the coiled logs offered the first clue.
“This is what it looks like when someone gets rid of a dozen turf fields and there’s nowhere to send them,” said Mayor Larry Minnich.
A York Daily Record/York Sunday News investigation has found an unregulated industry that is growing exponentially and dumping several hundred old athletic fields across the U.S. every year.

Artificial turf and the projected mountains of waste

Used artificial turf is expected to produce 1 million to 4 million tons of waste in the next 10 years, and it has nowhere to go, according to solid waste industry analysts.
Minnich, the Cleona mayor, soon learned that the problem in his borough of about 2,100 people was similar to what communities were grappling with across the country — tons of worn-out, artificial school fields that municipal dumps won’t accept and a growing, unregulated, cottage industry of vacant land owners taking the waste.
Turf fields installed in waves a decade ago are reaching the end of their lifespan and need to be replaced, according to an industry trade association. Despite being touted as a completely recyclable alternative to grass, there are no companies in the U.S. that can completely recycle them, according to a trade association president.

The fields frequently end up in empty lots, backyards, in public spaces and on private land. Sometimes, they are given permission to be there. In some cases, they have been dumped illegally by contractors paid to remove them.

An inside look at the turf war

Dozens of artificial turf bundles sit just off the intersection of Route 30 and Loucks Mill Road in York County, Tuesday September 24, 2019.
Dozens of artificial turf bundles sit just off the intersection of Route 30 and Loucks Mill Road in York County, Tuesday September 24, 2019.
Cameron Clark, York Daily Record
Artificial turf fields are largely made of scrap tires and synthetic fibers and are designed to look like natural grass. They’ve been revamped from the AstroTurf in the 1960s, which was largely made of fibers and sand, into the synthetic turf today that’s made of recycled rubber, fibers and sand.
There are about 12,000 to 15,000 turf fields in the United States, according to the Synthetic Turf Council. Most of those fields carry an eight-year warranty, which is standard across the industry. But the turf council’s top lobbyist says they can last 10 to 12 years.
When those fields reach the end of their lifespan, that waste has to go somewhere. But sending turf to a landfill is not cost effective or an industry best practice. Turf is already piling up on the sides of roads and being stored on private properties because there’s only one recycling facility in the world that can fully separate the parts for reuse, and that facility is in Denmark.
Some property owners are getting creative in how they reuse it, but disposed turf is outpacing demand. For now, some of these stacks are eyesores along highways that can last for decades.
Turf disposal is not regulated in Pennsylvania. These large piles of waste fall through bureaucratic cracks, leading to unchecked dumping. Though all waste in Pennsylvania requires a permit before being dumped, there are no specific rules on the books for turf. Those storing turf in Pennsylvania aren’t obtaining permits. They are cutting deals with landowners to store their waste, creating makeshift garbage dumps.
Without any rules or oversight, disposed turf becomes the burden and responsibility of anyone who lives around it.

Obstacles reusing and disposing of turf

Recently in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., turf fields have tested positive for lead and toxins that are known to cause cancer, low birth weight in babies and other diseases, according to reports in the Boston Globe and Washington Post.
Industry-funded studies found no increased risk of disease to anyone of any age who uses turf fields.
There’s been no independent, definitive study on the safety of turf. The Obama Administration started to examine the issue in his second term. The Trump Administration has studied it for three years and on July 25 released the first part of its findings.
Some materials used to make turf fields, such as industrial silica sand, can’t be incinerated.
Sometimes, college and professional fields can be donated to other facilities, but youth fields are too worn to be donated to another facility.
Property owner Matthew Bupp said he never wanted to be in the turf business, but it's a problem he inherited. Tuesday, September 24, 2019.
Property owner Matthew Bupp said he never wanted to be in the turf business, but it's a problem he inherited. Tuesday, September 24, 2019.
Cameron Clark, York Daily Record
Because stagnant water can pool inside them and attract rodents and mosquitoes, used tires can’t be taken to landfills. But turf, despite being largely made from old tires, can be taken to landfills. However, that’s an expensive option.
Pennsylvania law also cites that tires shouldn't be disposed of in landfills because they take up too much room.
It’s $60 to $70 a ton to dispose of turf in a landfill. Each roll of turf is about 2,000 to 3,000 pounds. A ton is 2,000 pounds. For the 6,000 rolls of turf in Cleona, the landfill option would cost about $400,000. 
But none of those rolls are headed to a dump. They’re headed to Denmark. Slowly.

'We're running out of room'

The rolls have been sitting in Cleona for two years, and a few months ago, Minnich decided that was long enough. He was getting complaints from people in town, and there were safety concerns about the pile’s flammability and proximity to a fueling station.
Property owner Kevin Fox, who operates a transportation business, said he never had any safety concerns, especially because the rolls were stored inside a fenced-in lot.
This satellite photo from Google Earth shows thousands of rolls of turf at a private business in Cleona, a small borough in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania.
This satellite photo from Google Earth shows thousands of rolls of turf at a private business in Cleona, a small borough in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania.
Google Earth
Fox has been storing the turf for an undisclosed property rental fee since a former business associate told him more than a year ago that a turf recycler overseas needed a place to store dismantled fields.
But Fox also reached a point where he agreed with the mayor that the turf couldn’t stay on his property.
“We were running out of room,” Fox said.

Challenges after inheriting abandoned turf

Turf from a field in southcentral Pennsylvania sits in this heap at the intersection of Loucks Mill Road and Route 30 in York County, Pennsylvania. Tuesday, September 24, 2019.
Turf from a field in southcentral Pennsylvania sits in this heap at the intersection of Loucks Mill Road and Route 30 in York County, Pennsylvania. Tuesday, September 24, 2019.
Cameron Clark, York Daily Record
At another site, weeds push through rolls of turf that are scattered on a hillside at the intersection of Matthew Bupp’s property at Loucks Mill Road and Route 30 in York, Pennsylvania.
People frequently drive by and ask a version of: “What is that?”
Bupp knows the feeling.
He wondered the same thing when he inherited the problem a couple of years ago.
Somebody who leased the land to store the turf defaulted on the rent. He’s not sure of the contractor, but he knows the disposed field was trucked in from Harrisburg or Mechanicsburg, 40 miles away.
“It feels like this old football field has been here forever,” he said. “Promising rent and then abandoning the material is a perfect way of making sure you have no disposal costs and then making disposal someone else’s problem.”
Matthew Bupp
It feels like this old football field has been here forever.
Bupp said there were so many subcontractors involved that he couldn't successfully figure out the right person to hold accountable.
The turf is not easy to get rid of. In addition to the high costs involved, it’s physically daunting. Each roll, depending on the size, typically weighs between 900 and 3,000 pounds.
“This isn’t something you can put on the back of a pickup truck. You need tractor-trailers and machinery to lift it,” Bupp said.

'One man's trash is another man's treasure'

He decided to get creative. He advertised through Craigslist and word of mouth, transferring the turf roll by roll to new homes and businesses.
“Some has been given away; some has been sold. But I didn’t plan on or want to go into the turf business,” said Bupp, a property developer.
The divvied up turf is now at a community garden in York City, indoor Xtreme Archery in Springettsbury Township, local soccer organizations, a Maryland lacrosse team, batting cages and private lawns for weddings. He’s also sent some of the rubber to a private home to be placed under a water slide.
“I’m trying to make the old adage true that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” Bupp said. “I’m finding waste and putting it to reuse.”
He’s an environmentalist at heart. When he bought the property five years ago, he said, he cleaned up 256 tires and two abandoned cars that were dumped and deserted on the bank of the nearby Codorus Creek.
“I’ve always said real men recycle, but now I’d say real people recycle,” Bupp said. “I’m not sure how much longer it will take to get rid of it all, but I know it can be recycled and repurposed.”
Discarded artificial turf finds a new home at shooting range
Xtreme Archery in Springettsbury Township uses discarded artificial turf as a cushion for arrows and behind the counter to soothe feet.
Paul Kuehnel,

Unregulated, untraced

Too often, old turf fields are not recycled and repurposed, according to Kyla Bennett, science and policy director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
She is also the director of the New England office for the watchdog organization, which helps government whistleblowers expose environmental wrongdoing.
Bennett said state and federal clients have reported that most turf fields typically go to landfills or are dumped illegally.
“They usually show up near wetlands or streams,” she said.
That's a concern because turf fields are largely made of crumb rubber, which is scrap tires. Scrap tires shouldn't be dumped near or in waterways because they pose two health threats: a safe haven for pests and fire risk, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"Prone to heat retention, tires in stockpiles also can ignite, creating tire fires that are difficult to extinguish and can burn for months, generating unhealthy smoke and toxic oils," according to the EPA.
There are no places to dispose of turf in York County, Tuesday, September 24, 2019.
There are no places to dispose of turf in York County, Tuesday, September 24, 2019.
Cameron Clark, York Daily Record
Dan Bond, president of the Synthetic Turf Council, a Fairfax, Virginia-based trade group, said disposal of turf in waterways was a bad practice of the industry’s past.
“It used to happen in the '80s and '90s before recycling. Yes, that did happen, but our trade group is emphatic about best practices today, and our manufacturers and recyclers adhere to it,” Bond said.
But it’s not the manufacturers or recyclers he lobbies for who are removing the fields when they need to be replaced every eight to 10 years.
It’s usually a subcontractor who shows up to remove a field and dispose it. Sometimes, two different businesses are hired to remove a field and get rid of it. There’s no chain of custody. There are no regulations at state and federal levels on turf disposal.
Discarded artificial turf is being stored near the intersection of Loucks Road and Route 30 in York County.
Discarded artificial turf is being stored near the intersection of Loucks Road and Route 30 in York County.
Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record
For example, in Pennsylvania: “There are no waste regulations specific to turf, but the used turf would be considered waste, and should be managed as such. All waste disposal activities in Pennsylvania require a permit,” said Elizabeth Rementer, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
A chain of custody can be difficult to follow because old turf can find multiple new uses, and industry lobbyists discourage regulations, Bond said.
“If you put out regulations on what to do at the end of a field’s life, that doesn’t help because there are so many applications. You can use different parts of the field for different applications. There’s not one best way to do this,” he said.
The industry can regulate itself by setting guidelines and best practices, Bond said.
His trade group recommends giving municipalities and school districts tax breaks for finding beneficial reuses for turf.
That’s not good enough for Bennett, who said it’s a scheme that “kicks the can down the road and distributes the problem to someone else.”

Concerns about chemicals found in artificial turf

Bennett said the best solution is to use natural grass.
Turf fields are a creative way for the tire industry to get rid of their waste, she said. The tires are shredded and put into fields, and eight to 10 years later, “a municipality then has to figure out what to do with it,” Bennett said.
Even worse, she said, the “consumer and end user have no idea what’s in it.”
Kyla Bennett, science and policy director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
It’s a problem for everybody.
Whistleblowers who work with PEER have raised concerns about the toxicity of the disposed fields that frequently get dumped on land near community water supplies, she said.
“It’s a problem for everybody,” Bennett said.
Bond said 110 industry studies found no increased risk of disease to anyone of any age who uses turf fields. He points to the studies on the trade association website.
In its first report about crumb-rubber synthetic fields, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said research was “inconclusive” on the safety of crumb-rubber fields.
They found a range of metals and chemicals in turf fields.
“While chemicals are present as expected in the (tire) crumb rubber, human exposure appears to be limited based on what is released into air or simulated biological fluids,” the report says.
The 800-page report looked at what chemicals are present in the fields, but it didn’t study whether those chemicals are safe for the people using them.
It is unclear when the second part of the federal study will be released.
A study by the Washington State Department of Health in 2017 found no evidence that crumb rubber in turf fields contained enough cancer-causing chemicals to put players at risk.
California is conducting its own study on turf fields, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission is studying children’s exposure to chemicals on rubber tire surfaces at playgrounds.

Growing cycle of installing, removing of turf fields

Solid waste industry analysts
Used artificial turf is expected to produce 1 million to 4 million tons of waste in the next 10 years. 

In the meantime, the number of new turf fields being installed and old ones being removed is growing every year in the multi-billion industry.
There are between 12,000 and 15,000 turf fields in the U.S., Bond said, and another 1,200 and 1,500 are opening each year.
Meanwhile, the number of disposed fields has grown from 365 in 2013 to 750 in 2018. The number of disposed turf fields is expected to grow by hundreds this year and in the upcoming year, according to the trade association.
And something that both the industry and environmentalists agree on is that they need somewhere to put them.

An apparent solution, hampered by a lack of oversight

The solution to the old turf problem might be found in the pipeline from Cleona to Denmark.
Fox, the property owner with thousands of rolls of turf on his property, is shipping dozens of loads at a time to Re-Match, a Scandanavian company that the industry and environmentalists agree is the only true recycling facility in the world.
But founder Dennis Anderson said his company is a solution few U.S. companies are using, mainly because there are no regulations that require fields to be recycled.
It costs about $20,000 to ship one field overseas and be recycled at Re-Match he said. That’s cheaper than a landfill. But if a contractor can pay a landowner a little bit of money to store turf, they will probably choose that option over shipping to Denmark, Anderson said.
Discarded turf near the intersection of Loucks Road and Route 30.
Discarded turf near the intersection of Loucks Road and Route 30.
Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record
Anderson's company is paying Fox an undisclosed amount to keep the fields on his property until it can open two U.S. recycling facilities in Pennsylvania and California in 2020. He did not disclose specific locations, but he said his company is in position to open the facilities late next year. It would take each recycling facility nine months to become operational.
His recycling method is patented in 56 countries and is the only one that completely separates the grass part of the turf from the crumb rubber part, he said. Re-Match is the only company that has the technology to recycle an old turf field into a new one, Anderson said.
Anderson has been storing 10 to 15 fields in Cleona while he works on opening a new facility in the Netherlands to serve the growing European market, where there are 4,100 new turf fields per year.
The European market also outpaces the U.S. market on regulations and has stricter requirements on recycling.

'Make it all go away'

Cleona didn't have any regulations on the books, either, but the mayor pressured Re-Match to remove the turf from the borough. Anderson flew to Pennsylvania to meet with him.
“I told them to take it away. Make it all go away,” Minnich said in the summer. “They did a little bit, but not to the level I was happy about. We’re hoping to get all of it out before winter sets in. That’s the plan as of today.”
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Fox said he’s already shipped 25 loads to Denmark. He’s also shipped two or three loads to Playing Surface Solutions in Meadville, Pennsylvania, where the turf installer can partially recycle some of the materials and repurpose them as putting greens.
He was expecting to have more turf hauled away from his property in late November.
“To the average person, this is garbage. But for a company that knows how to do it, there’s hundreds of thousands in profit to separate and clean it and resell it. You have to have the right equipment to do it though,” Fox said.
Anderson has that equipment at Re-Match, but he doesn’t have enough U.S. business.
Bond said: “I think you’ll see more companies like Re-Match coming into the marketplace, and they are needed.”
While there are opportunities to recycle turf in creative ways, such as what Bupp is doing in York, the market is saturated with more old turf than there is demand for new putting greens or other alternative uses.
And, for now, industry leaders and environmentalists agree the best solution to getting rid of all the turf piling up is still an ocean away.

Originally Published 6:00 a.m. EST Nov. 18, 2019
Updated 4 hours ago

Friday, March 23, 2018

Tom Sciacca of Wayland: Sports versus the environment

Tom Sciacca of Wayland: Sports versus the environment

Every organization has a culture and a set of values. Wayland’s values were embodied nearly 50 years ago, displayed proudly for all to see, on the wall of the then-new Middle School. Henry David Thoreau, Rachel Carson and Martin Luther King Jr. represent what we consider as a town to be really important.
Two of those three images focus our commitment to protect the environment. And for decades after they were painted Wayland was an environmental superstar.
We backed a strong Conservation Commission, nurtured the Sudbury Valley Trustees, and provided volunteers and financial support for regional environmental groups. We partnered with those groups and federal agencies to protect a large fraction of the town as conservation land, and by unanimous Town Meeting vote supported the national recognition of the Sudbury as a Wild and Scenic River.
Throughout that time one of our major goals was the protection of our drinking water, often regarded as some of the best in the state with absolutely no treatment. We always supported especially strong land and water protection because, as former DEP Commissioner and longtime resident, the late Russ Sylva, said at a Town Meeting, “Here in Wayland we sit right on top of our drinking water.”
But around the turn of this century things seemed to change. Development interests gained power. A new generation entered town with a focus only on the schools, not realizing that the beautiful green space they took for granted had taken great effort to preserve. That led to the creation of the failed Town Center shopping mall. And carpeting a large swath of land virtually on top of our best drinking water wells with plastic – the High School turf field.
Plastic is being increasingly recognized as a huge environmental problem. A New York Times report says “a 2016 World Economic Forum report projects that there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the oceans by 2050 if current trends continue.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is using Canada’s presidency of the G7 “to help stop the oceans from becoming massive rubbish heaps,” “particularly around plastics,” says a CTV report.
The Times report goes on, “Trillions of microplastics end up in the ocean, with seafood eaters ingesting an estimated 11,000 tiny pieces annually. Plastic fibers have also been found in tap water around the world; in one study, researchers found that 94 percent of water samples in the United States were affected. The impact on human health from direct exposure to microplastics is unknown.”
At the same time, Norway’s environment minister is proposing rules to address plastic pollution from artificial turf, recognizing it as an important source of microplastic emissions in Norway.
Wayland High School’s artificial turf field, installed in 2007, is wearing out. What does wearing out mean? It means the vinyl or polyethylene plastic strands simulating grass are being broken down by UV sunlight and abrasion from players’ shoes into small pieces and microparticles, and then being blown or washed away. Where does that plastic go? Into the marsh, and then the river. And ultimately, the ocean.
The same will happen to any replacement artificial field, no matter what is chosen as the infill propping those plastic strands up. There is a huge debate over whether the toxin-laden ground up tires commonly used as infill (including in Wayland’s field) actually release those toxins to poison players and the environment. And there are suggestions the problem can be solved with alternative infills, including pricey virgin rubber and coconut husks. But even if those alternatives are an improvement over old tires, they don’t solve the problem of the plastic that will eventually pollute the river behind the high school and the marshes around the Willowbrook neighborhood if the Recreation Commission has its way and a new artificial field is built at the Loker site on Rte. 30.
Ironically, taxpayers are being asked to spend millions of dollars more than otherwise necessary to renovate the high school facilities to protect the wells and the river.
“A significant driver in the design of the athletic improvement plan is rooted in the effort to enhance the protection of both the Happy Hollow Wells as well as the Sudbury River Watershed,” says the Annual Town Meeting Warrant.
In 2006 and 2007, the Boosters and the Board of Selectmen, the proponents of the then-proposed new artificial turf field, maintained adamantly that the field would be harmless to the wells. Concerns that town drinking water might filter through the huge bed of ground-up old tires on the way to our taps were dismissed as mere speculation. But in 2010, after the field was built, hydrogeological testing confirmed that under normal conditions about a third of the field drained to the wells. Under drought conditions that portion would increase. The testing to determine whether that drainage contained toxins, agreed to by the selectmen and Boosters as a condition of the final permit to build the field, was never done.
Several years ago, however, the Board of Public Works hired an environmental consulting engineer to check out the field. She found that the drainage system under the field designed by Gale Associates (the same firm that provided the study on which field usage claims are made to justify the need for artificial turf fields) didn’t work. And that there were masses of matted plastic strands in the swale to the north of the field. Again, that plastic pollution is independent of the tire shreds or groundwater drainage. In fact, much of the plastic is probably being blown off, rather than washed off, and is thus impossible to stop or contain.
There is a much cheaper and better way to protect the wells and the river. In 2011, DEP approved a Wellhead Protection Plan, the culmination of four years of effort by the Wayland Wellhead Protection Committee, which recommended that when the turf field wore out it be replaced by a grass field. Doing so would be far more effective in protecting the wells and river than all of the rebuilding and shifting being proposed. It would also save millions of dollars.
The soil under grass is what prevents contaminants, whether from humans or animals, from getting into the groundwater and to wells. The microbes in soil break down pathogens and chemicals, and trap other pollutants. And they work for cheap.
Ultimately voters at the ballot box and at Town Meeting will have to decide – what’s more important, pure drinking water and the environment, or more sports?
Tom Sciacca was a member of the Wellhead Protection Committee.

Microplastic from a synthetic turf field:

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Crumb Rubber in Playgrounds and Children’s Health

Crumb Rubber in Playgrounds and Children’s Health

March 20, 2018
Recycled rubber artificial turf and similar products were introduced into athletic fields and playgrounds in the 1990s to make playing surfaces more comfortable. This recycled rubber comes from automobile tires, which are ground into very small rubber pellets, called crumb.
Scientists and doctors have expressed concern about crumb rubber use in play grounds and artificial turf because safety testing of these products has not been conducted, and tires are known to contain heavy metals, cancer-causing chemicals, and other toxic substances. Children can be exposed to the harmful substances in crumb rubber when the pellets touch their skin, when small pieces are accidentally swallowed, and when some of the chemicals are released from the rubber in the form of gas which can be inhaled, or enter the environment through leaching.
In this podcast, learn more about what scientists are doing to understand the health risks of crumb rubber in playgrounds, and what you can do to reduce children’s exposure to potentially harmful contaminants.
Interviewees: Robert Wright, M.D. and Homero Harari, Sc.D.


Robert (Bob) Wright, M.D.
Robert Wright, M.D., is a pediatrician and environmental epidemiologist at the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He serves as the chair of the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health as well as the director of the Institute of Exposomic Research, and the Children’s Environmental Health Center.
Wright wrote a Perspective on Recycled Rubber Playing Surfaces, where he and co-author Sara Evans, Ph.D., discussed the significant gaps in knowledge about the safety of crumb rubber playing surfaces. Several potential dangers discussed (and outlined in the Consumer Guide developed by Wright and colleagues), include impacts from extreme heat, inhalation and ingestion of chemicals in rubber, small rubber pieces that can be tracked into homes, and chemicals leaching into groundwater. Wright is a co-investigator on a project working with Homero Harari, Sc.D., Evans, and Maida Galvez, M.D. to characterize exposure to crumb rubber used in artificial turf fields.
Wright has published over 200 research studies, mainly focusing on environmental factors, such as exposures to chemical mixtures, that influence children’s health and neurodevelopment.
Homero Harari, Sc.D.
Homero Harari, Sc.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, and member of the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai. Harari’s research focuses on understanding the chemical exposure effects of turf and crumb rubber on child health and development.
Harari is the lead investigator on the research study with Wright that is working to characterize exposure to crumb rubber used in artificial turf fields. This project involves community input to help identify research questions that are of particular interest.

Additional Resources