CHOOSE THE RIGHT FIELD FOR YOUR COMMUNITY
Whether the local high school, area park or county fields, residents are desperate to be heard by decision makers on the unacceptable risks associated with synthetic surfaces.
Synopsis: The basic premise of any effort to replace a natural turf field with synthetic anything is what is questioned here. The proponents of synthetic turf lack the data to support claims used to justify these actions such as hours of use, rain out statistics, recycle programs for used turf or even costs for improving natural turf fields using environmentally friendly techniques to compare to the fiduciary pit of recurring costs associated with the toxic carpet alternatives.
The information shows initiatives with which the members of the SHPFC have engaged to help level the playing field of facts to better inform decisions about how best to meet actual demand for play time in our communities.
More information on communities deciding to 'say no' to artificial turf in favor of good old fashioned grass is available on http://www.synturf.org/sayno.html.
Local Fields In Montgomery County, Maryland
We all agree with the objectives and goals of reliable playing fields at our county high schools. Where we differ is in how to meet those goals and objectives. The following documents outline the discussion taking place in Montgomery County.
The proposed Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) 2016 budget includes $11 million over the next 6 years to put artificial turf fields at every high school (19) that does not currently have one. This is an expensive mistake. The total price tag will most certainly exceed $23 million based upon today’s cost for synthetic turf in Montgomery County, so more than half of the $23 million would have to come from boosters, PTAs or commercial partnerships/rentals. What if that money cannot be raised? In terms of equity, only affluent athletic clubs will be able to afford the usage fees, which are currently three times more expensive than grass field rental.
Wootton High School in Potomac, Maryland
This school is asking parents to pay $200,000 of the initial ask for $1,100,000 needed to replace their natural turf field with synthetic turf. Bethesda Soccer is footing the rest of the $0.9M needed to fund the field. The Wootton Booster Club created a website to justify the funds and appeal to parents, alums, and anyone with a spare dollar to donate. Problem is, the website misinforms. Members of the SHPFC working with concerned Wootton parents have reached out to decision makers at all levels along the decision process. To no avail - in November 2012 the field was approved. Then, in June 2013 FieldTurf submitted their proposal asking for and the Superintendent of Schools, Joshua Starr, approved, an additional $205,178 dollars bringing the total cost of the field installation to $1,305,178. The shortfall is "to be paid through funds collected for community use and the savings accumulated each year from not having to maintain the current grass field". But synthetic turf fields require their own costly and year round maintenance.
links to letters and testimony
Stuart Shalat, Sc.D., Professor and Director, Division of Environmental Health, Georgia State University:
- Letter to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services on hazards of artificial turf field exposure.
Dr. Kathy Michels, Neurobiologist:
MEMO: FOR PARKS CIP HEARING MAY 18: Safe Healthy Playgrounds - natural surfaces vs synthetic waste, and use of waste tire pollutants (poured in place surfacing) in Kemp Mill Urban Park and Kemp Mill Rec Center. (May 18, 2017)
Montgomery County MD Public Hearing on Wooten HS Special Appropriation for partial initial cost of an artificial turf field at Wootton High School - CONCERN OVER HEALTH AND SAFETY RISKS (January 15, 2013)
Montgomery County MD Public Hearing: For Wootton Artificial turf: Carcinogenic PAHs ARE present in and released from the tire crumb in artificial turf (similar to coal tar). Please protect our children and oppose Wootton HS supplemental appropriation (February 5, 2013)
Correcting misleading information presented by MCPS For Whitman and Einstein HS Artificial Turf Fields (Testimony of Kathleen Michels and Jerry Kickenson) (February 21, 2016) [See the Original Presentation]
Gail Dalferes, SHPFC member:
- Sierra Club Letter To The University Of Maryland, Supporting Students' Proposal To Research Dangers of Artificial Turf (November 4, 2016)
LETTERS FROM/TO LEGISLATORS
Councilmember Marc Elrich's questions remain unanswered. “What problem are we trying to solve with artificial turf?” The answer is usually more even fields, more hours of use, fewer rain-outs, and lower maintenance costs. All reasonable goals. But I’ve come to believe that artificial turf does not provide the best solution. Or even a good solution."
Neighbors of the Northwest Branch strongly urged the MoCo Council not rely on the recommendations of this report for decisions about how to spend scarce county revenues on athletic fields because the report leaves too many questions unaddressed and unanswered.
Kathleen Michels, Ph D and Montgomery County resident, as far back as 2009, in regards to decisions on how to proceed with artificial turf installations in Montgomery County alerted Mike Riley of the Maryland National Capital Parks & Planning Commission of the concerns being raised over the CPSC findings. This information was ignored by the MoCo Staff Work Group in compiling their 2011 report, which deferred to the CPSC findings to justify continued installations.