Artificial Turf Fields
Albemarle High School, Monticello High School, and Western Albemarle High School each had an artificial turf playing field installed in 2010. The fields are made of AstroTurf's GameDay Grass XPe and crumb rubber infill. The artificial turf fields eliminate the need for irrigation and fertilizer and increase the playability of the fields. While there are many benefits to artificial turf fields, some communities have voiced concerns about the safety of crumb rubber infill on artificial turf fields.
Several studies by federal and state regulatory agencies have concluded that there is not an elevated health risk associated with the crumb rubber infill material.
The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection measured air concentrations of approximately 200 chemicals at five fields during active play and measured offgasing and leaching of chemicals from crumb rubber. The study concluded that outdoor artificial turf fields are not associated with elevated health risks from the inhalation of volatile or particle-bound chemicals.
The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA)California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) found no public health concerns regarding the inhalation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or particulates (PM2.5) above artificial turf.
While limited studies have not shown an elevated health risk from playing on
fields with tire crumb, the existing studies do not comprehensively
evaluate the concerns about health risks from exposure to tire crumb. On February 12, 2016 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances
and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety
Commission (CPSC) launched a multi-agency action plan to study key
environmental human health questions. By late 2016, the agencies will release a draft status report that
describes the findings and conclusions of the research through that
point in time. The report will also outline any additional research
needs and next steps.
ACPS has researched alternative infill systems for the turf fields and will follow any guidance that results from the government's report in late 2016.