While conducting a routine health investigation at a metal facility in Newark, NJ, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) tested a nearby community athletic field for lead contamination. Samples taken from the field showed high levels of lead in the field dust, but the lead did not come from the scrap metal facility.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is partnering with ATSDR to monitor the situation. Read the complete CDC Health Advisory.
Boulder County Public Health (BCPH) Response
Environmental health experts are currently contacting manufacturers and technical experts to determine the facts and risk. There have been no reported cases of elevated blood level tests in children in the US due to exposure to artificial turf.
Organizations that have artificial turf fields should identify their nylon or nylon-blend artificial turf fields from vendors. Testing is a precaution, and CDC recommendations should be acted upon within reason.
- Test artificial turf that has worn, dusty, and nylon or nylon-blend fibers
- If testing shows lead at levels greater than 400 ppm (mg/Kg), restrict access to children younger than 6.
- Ensure alternate fields do not contain lead.
- No testing is necessary for turf made from polyethylene-only fibers or nylon turf that is not worn and is not dusty.
Replace fields that are worn or dusty as soon as it is practical.The CDC recommends testing children’s blood lead levels in accordance with state guidelines. Concerned parents/caregivers should consult their medical providers for further information.
General Lead Poisoning Prevention Recommendations
Especially in houses where children are present, parents, day care providers, and other child care providers should follow lead safety practices regardless of the type of playing surface. Safety practices include:
- Wash children’s hands frequently and always before they eat.
- Do not eat food or use pacifiers that have been dropped on the floor or outside.
- Remove shoes when entering the house, or use door mats.
- Have your house inspected for lead if it was built before 1978.
- Use lead-safe work practices when doing work that disturbs lead-painted surfaces.
- Learn more about lead.