Think Globally - Federal Level National Impacts
The artificial turf industry actively markets their products to toddlers, children and parents for use by their families and small children, yet no federal agency is regulating or monitoring that use. This page focuses on actions you can take, and actions under way by watchdog groups, to encourage action by federal agencies to protect the people and the planet from risk of exposure to the toxins in artificial turf.
Make your voice heard to your local, state or federal elected officials and agencies. Here are some of the asks at the 'global' or national level.
Action required of the EPA:
- Ask the EPA to regulate and set standards for synthetic turf fields after following up to continue scientific studies.
- Follow up on the 2009 EPA Scoping study using latest techniques and expanding the focus to cover all compounds not just lead
- (follow the example of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection July 2011 study)
- Regulations that apply to playground equipment should also be applied to artificial turf.
Current EPA Position
In a San Francisco Chronicle investigative report by Melody Gutierrez (21 Feb 2015), the current position of the EPA was summarized this way:
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has terminated its longtime campaign to promote the use of recycled tires on artificial turf fields and playgrounds, amid growing concern from critics in California and elsewhere who fear the material poses a health risk to people.
- Laura Allen, spokeswoman for the EPA, said the agency is no longer affiliated with the [Scrap Tire] Workgroup and has no current initiatives to reduce tires in landfills. The agency ended staff participation in the independent Workgroup in May 2014, and closed out administrative participation at the end of 2014. The agency also says more testing on waste tire infill is needed and that states and local agencies should be responsible for conducting that research.
- The EPA made a mistake in promoting this. That’s my personal view,” said Suzanne Wuerthele, a former EPA toxicologist who is now retired. “This was a serious no-brainer. You take something with all kinds of hazardous materials and make it something kids play on? It seems like a dumb idea.”
- The agency said its 2009 study — often cited by industry groups to validate the safety of tire infill — was limited in scope and that no conclusions should be drawn by it.
Click here to read a retraction letter from the EPA (16 Dec 2013) backing off their 2009 study findings, noting the extremely limited scope of the study.
Action required of the CPSC:
- Ask federal legislators to take immediate action to require CPSC to remove or correct their press release to stop the reliance on incomplete and inaccurate data for important local decisions about how to proceed with synthetic turf installations.
- Ultimately the CPSC needs to reclassify and regulate artificial turf as a children’s product.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission declares that synthetic turf is exempt from child safety standards because it is not a children's product. If it acts like a children's product, and it is marketed as a children's product, and it is sold as a children's product, then shouldn't it be REGULATED like a children's product? Watch this video to decide for yourself. Then take a moment to (1) report synthetic turf as an unsafe product and (2) tell the CPSC to to undertake a broader review and to withdraw their “safe to play” endorsement, that was based on flawed and limited science.
PEER NEWS RELEASES AND FILINGS
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is one of the groups taking action to hold the CPSC and EPA accountable to the public - take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with these filings:
Click here to read PEER law suit filed against the CPSC (19 Feb 2015) "Amid growing calls to shield young children from toxic chemicals in playing surfaces made with shredded tires, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has sat on its own enforcement review of the product for more than a year, according to a federal lawsuit filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). At issue is why the CPSC has not held synthetic playground turf to the same safety standard it applies to other playground equipment, such as swings and slides."
Read PEER complaint against the CPSC and EPA findings, upon which state programs rely to justify use of synthetic turf, stating Federal “safe to play” endorsements for artificial turf are based on flawed and limited science and should be withdrawn, according to legal challenges filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Federal agencies have given blanket safety assurances for parents, athletes and schools despite a growing body of evidence documenting chemical exposure and other risks from synthetic turf.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PEER PETITION AND CHALLENGES
On March 21, 2013, PEER issued a press release after filing legal challenges to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to drop their assurances of synthetic turf safety, which begins “Federal “safe to play” endorsements for artificial turf are based on flawed and limited science and should be withdrawn, according to legal challenges filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
Federal agencies have given blanket safety assurances for parents, athletes and schools despite a growing body of evidence documenting chemical exposure and other risks from synthetic turf.”
The PEER challenges find inadequacies with the underlying data that call the CPSC conclusions into question. In addition, the CPSC study used a lead level cutoff of 15 ug/L, which is completely outdated. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) [lead program] recommends examining kids if their lead level is over 5 (or sometimes, if lead is even detectable, depending on the child’s age). The CDC states the “most important step parents, doctors, and others can take is to prevent lead exposure before it occurs".
Maryland (District 20) State Senator Jamie Raskin sent a letter asking the CPSC to (1) revoke exclusion and consider artificial turf fields as children's product and (2) rescind blanket "safe for children" finding. Senator Raskin is a constitutional law professor at American University College of Law.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, on August 19, 2008, then CT AG (now Connecticut State Senator) Blumenthal called on the CPSC to immediately remove and revise a report on its website that may dangerously and deceptively mislead citizens into believing that artificial turf has been proven safe.
Connecticut (District 3) Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (August 8, 2008) wrote to Nancy A. Nord, acting chairman of the CPSC, questioning the agency’s recently issued report on lead in synthetic turf fields and pressing for a thorough investigation. While the [CPSC] agency declared the fields safe, its conclusions, which were issued so hastily that even the synthetic turf industry was surprised at how quickly they were compiled, appear to be based on flawed methodology and less than sound science.
(Coming soon) analysis of Dr. David Brown, Director of Public Health Toxicology, EHHI, a Doctor of Science in Physiology and Toxicology from Harvard School of Public Health and a former supervisor of superfund sites with the National Centers for Disease Control.
SUPPORT THE SAFE CHEMICALS ACT
Listen to this interview with Jennifer Beals, activist and actress, and Andy Igrejas, Safer Chemicals, interviewed by Patrick Gavin of Politico (published Oct 30, 2013).
They discuss legislation we can get behind and speak truth regarding the Safe Chemicals Act (S. 696) (click here to learn how to support this important legislation), a bill that would put common sense limits on toxic chemicals, but needs some tweaks to the details to be most effective for all people