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Environmental Health Perspectives





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Background: In 2007, a synthetic turf recreational field in Newark, New Jersey, was closed because lead was found in synthetic turf fibers and in surface dust at concentrations exceeding hazard criteria. Consequently, public health professionals across the country began testing synthetic turf to determine whether it represented a lead hazard. Currently, no standardized methods exist to test for lead in synthetic turf or to assess lead hazards.

Objectives: Our objectives were to increase awareness of potential lead exposure from synthetic turf by presenting data showing elevated lead in fibers and turf-derived dust; identify risk assessment uncertainties; recommend that federal and/or state agencies determine appropriate methodologies for assessing lead in synthetic turf; and recommend an interim standardized approach for sampling, interpreting results, and taking health-protective actions.

Discussion: Data collected from recreational fields and child care centers indicate lead in synthetic turf fibers and dust at concentrations exceeding the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 statutory lead limit of 300 mg/kg for consumer products intended for use by children, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s lead-dust hazard standard of 40 μg/ft2 for floors.

Conclusions: Synthetic turf can deteriorate to form dust containing lead at levels that may pose a risk to children. Given elevated lead levels in turf and dust on recreational fields and in child care settings, it is imperative that a consistent, nationwide approach for sampling, assessment, and action be developed. In the absence of a standardized approach, we offer an interim approach to assess potential lead hazards when evaluating synthetic turf.


Child care settings; Day care centers; Dust; Expert panel; Hazardous substances – Risk assessment; Interim standardized approach; Lead; Lead poisoning in children – Prevention; Potential lead exposures; Synthetic sporting surfaces; Uncertainties


Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Public Health | Environmental Sciences | Toxicology




Reproduced with permission from Environmental Health Perspectives

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