Toxic Turf?

This article was written on Dr. Weil's Blog Toxic Turf?

I've become increasingly concerned about the artificial turf used as a substitute for grass on school athletic fields. I've heard that the material used to make it is safe, but I've also heard that it isn't. Which is right


Answer (Published 8/28/2015)

You pose a question for which there are no easy answers. Artificial turf, which is reportedly in use in more than 11,000 playing fields and playgrounds in the U.S. consists of synthetic grass anchored in crumb rubber pellets made from recycled tires. The upside of this innovation is easy maintenance, whether the fake turf is used in place of lawns or grassy athletic fields. It requires no mowing, weeding or watering. Beyond that, according to the Synthetic Turf Council, an industry trade group, use of crumb rubber has kept more than 105 million used tires out of landfills, resulted in the conservation of more than 3 billion gallons of water, reduced smog emissions and eliminated nearly a billion pounds of harmful fertilizers and pesticides.

The downside of synthetic turf is the health risks the chemicals in crumb rubber may pose to kids (and adults) who play sports on the stuff and come into contact with tiny pellets of crumb rubber that are kicked up into visible black clouds by feet and bouncing balls. The pellets get stuck in clothes, shoes, hair and mouths...