UPDATED: Six Councilmembers Ask Leggett to Test Artificial Turf Fields for Toxic Substances

lakelandsnewturfUPDATE April 6, 3:00 p.m. Montgomery County Spokesperson Patrick Lacefield says that the County Executive will be responding to the Council’s request in a letter next week.

Lacefield told MyMCMedia in an email that “the direction would be establish a baseline on [field] levels,” and also independent monitoring every five years.

ORIGINAL March 31, 4:49 p.m. Six Montgomery County Council members sent a letter to County Executive Ike Leggett last week asking that artificial turf fields, owned by the county, be tested for toxic substances.

In a letter dated March 23rd, Councilmembers Marc Elrich, Roger Berliner, Tom Hucker, George Leventhal, Nancy Navarro, and Hans Riemer request that the county test for “at least four substances that are currently required to be regulated in children’s products.” Those four substances are:  total lead content, chromium, cadmium, and phthalates.

Councilmembers are asking that an independent lab test the blades, carpet backing, and tire crumb infill.

In their letter to Leggett, Councilmembers cite various studies, including a 2014 peer-reviewed scientific study by Rutgers University, which states,”the variability of lead contained in the infill material is large and can span more than two orders of magnitude.” The letter also cites a Yale University study which states, “[shredded tires contain a] veritable witches brew of toxic substances.”

During a March 21 Education Committee meeting, Elrich cited testimony in Annapolis by a representative from artificial turf manufacturer FieldTurf. According to Elrich the representative said lead is present in its turf products.

“I don’t think anybody debates whether lead even vaguely should be near contact with children,” Elrich said.

According to Montgomery County Spokesperson Patrick Lacefield, a liaison meeting with departments and agencies is scheduled for April 4th to discuss the various details surrounding the Councilmembers request.

Elrich posted the letter in its entirety on his Facebook page.

March 23, 2016The Honorable Isiah LeggettMontgomery County Executive Executive Office Building, 2nd floor 101 Monroe…

Posted by Marc Elrich on Sunday, March 27, 2016

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Maureen Chowdhury

About Maureen Chowdhury

Maureen Chowdhury is a multimedia journalist with Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at mchowdhury@mymcmedia.org and on Twitter at @MediaMaureen. Maureen authors the blog Sound Check on MyMCMedia.


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