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Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
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NOTE: Press availability scheduled for today. Please see end of release for details.
Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard has urged the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to investigate the artificial turf used on athletic fields, play areas and in homes, after
The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services tested 12 artificial turf fields at municipal parks and colleges, and found that two had lead levels eight to ten times above the state’s residential soil standard for cleanup of contaminated properties. DHSS also tested samples of turf marketed for residential use. Two samples had similarly high lead levels.
It is not known whether lead from turf can be absorbed by the body as easily as lead from other sources such as lead paint or contaminated soil. Specialized tests are pending on the high-lead turf samples that can provide more information. Results are expected by early May.
The most conservative approach would be to limit access to the fields that have been identified with lead. Based on the limited information we have at this time, the Department’s assessment is that there is a very low risk for exposure. The risk of exposure can be reduced by proper maintenance of the field, including wetting down the field. Users of the field should wash properly and ensure that their clothing is washed after play.
The tested turf was composed of either nylon, polyethylene, or a mixture of the two. High lead levels were seen only in artificial turf containing nylon fibers.
“This is a potential consumer safety issue with national implications, since these turf products are widely distributed. While we are doing additional testing on the samples, we recommend that field managers exercise caution to protect against potential exposures for those who use the fields where high lead levels were found,’’ Commissioner Howard said.
Deputy Commissioner and State Epidemiologist, Dr. Eddy Bresnitz, requested further investigation of the turf issue in an
DHSS discovered lead in artificial turf while assisting the federal Environmental Protection Agency in an investigation of a metals scrap yard in
The Department first contacted the CPSC last December to give the agency the lead testing results and express concern that the findings could have nationwide impact. CSPC said it did not have sufficient information to take any action, prompting DHSS to do further sampling. As a result, the DHSS decided to test additional turf sites and other consumer turf products.
Artificial turf fibers were randomly tested at 12 sites. These 10 sites were found not to have high lead levels:
· Van Fleet Park,
· Memorial Park and
· Memorial Park,
· Mercer County College Soccer Field,
· The College of New Jersey Soccer Field,
The two sites containing elevated lead levels were
Both were notified of the results today. Both Hoboken Mayor David Roberts and the
There are no national guidelines for lead in artificial turf. In the absence of guidance, the DHSS is using the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s residential soil cleanup criteria for lead of 400 mg/Kg.
“We do not know the health impact -- if any – that may result in people who used these fields,” said Dr. Bresnitz. “One concern is that, for children who live in homes with lead-based paint or who have had other lead exposures, any lead from turf would just add to the lead levels in their bodies.”
Please visit the DHSS web site at www.nj.gov/health/artificialturf for fact sheets and additional information.
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PRESS AVAILABILITY: Dr. Bresnitz and Consumer and Environmental Health Services staff will be available by teleconference today at 4 to discuss this issue and answer questions. To participate, call 1-888-622-5357. The participation code is 167706.
Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360