Saturday, February 9, 2008

Fox News Article (Click for full article)

How Green Is Artificial Turf?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

By Meg Shannon

......... According to a 2007 report by the NFL Players Association, 61 percent of 1,511 players polled had negative reviews of artificial surfaces, with many believing artificial surfaces were more likely to cause injury and shorten players' careers.

There may be something to that. A 2005 New England Journal of Medicine study found a high rate of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus, or MRSA, bacterial infection in artificial-turf scrapes among St. Louis Rams players, though it blamed the transmission of the bacteria on sloppy hygiene rather than the turf itself.

Then there's the problem of cleaning the stuff. Blood, sweat and spit are easily absorbed by natural soil, but on artificial turf they've got to be swabbed down with disinfectants and detergents, then mopped up.

Perhaps the biggest environmental hazard from artificial turf is in its disposal, Wood says.

Synthetic turf on school athletic fields needs to be completely replaced after eight to 12 years, but the old turf will never disintegrate, she points out, adding that it's already been banned by some landfills.

Still, Wood admits that fake grass is the right choice for certain locations, such as indoor or domed fields and urban playgrounds that have blacktop or concrete lying beneath.

Both artificial-turf proponents and environmentalists agree on one thing: It's still early in the game for a firm conclusion on its impact on health and the immediate surroundings.

"There's a lot of pressure [to come up with a solid answer]," says Neil Lewis, executive director at Neighborhood Network, a non-profit environmental organization on New York's suburban Long Island. "And we are doing this without a lot of information, which I think is a mistake."