Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

September 22, 2013

VASICEK: Tempering exposure to dangerous chemicals

(Continued)

"The nation's largest retailer said that, beginning in January, it would begin to monitor progress on reducing these chemicals and apply to its own brand of cleaning products the Environmental Protection Agency's Design for the Environment label, which identifies eco-friendly goods. It declined to name the targeted chemicals, saying it will take time to familiarize suppliers with the new policy.”

This is certainly a step in the right direction. But cleaning products are just the beginning. Have you ever considered the potential hazard to children of something as innocent as AstroTurf? Rick Docksai comments:

“More cities and towns than ever have been stocking up on the synthetic variety in the last few years for sports fields, stadiums, and even front lawns. To communities short on funds and increasingly short on water, the prospect of fields that you don’t have to hydrate, mow, or spray with pesticides can sound too good to pass up. But not everyone is sold. Growing numbers of critics protest that those fields’ artificial chemicals don’t belong in their communities, much less in the bodies of the young people who play atop them.

“'We are exposing our children to a concentrated soup of all kinds of toxins,' warns Dr. Katherine Michels, a NIH neurobiologist. 'These materials were not made for this purpose. They were not made to be used by children.'

“...Synthetic turf’s rubber underside, or infill, is made from used tires. And used tires contain many unsavory chemicals, such as SBR Tire Crumb, within which is a petroleum-based compound called carbon black that has been on the California Office of Environmental Health’s official list of cancer-causing substances since 2003. Lead, arsenic, and cadmium show up in some tire crumb, too.”

Docksai presents the other side of the argument: water conservation, elimination of toxic lawn chemicals, and removing old tires from landfills.

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