Possible Health Effects of Synthetic
Synthetic turf is increasingly
used on playing fields and in parks. It is made
in layers of synthetic materials including green
plastic blades attached to a backing, small particles
called "fill" that secure the blades,
and underlying systems for drainage and stability.
The fill, often referred to as “crumb rubber”, is
of interest because it is usually made from recycled
tires containing chemicals that can cause cancer,
birth defects and other health problems under some
exposure conditions. Many companies supply fill,
and it is provided in various forms, so the chemical
composition varies. Work has been ongoing to evaluate
the various components of synthetic turf fields
and the products used to maintain them. The information
on this webpage provides an initial summary of screening
chemical analyses of some fill products. Please
for further information.
Cadmium in Children's
There have been numerous recent reports of toxic
metals, especially lead, in toy jewelry, lunch boxes
and other inexpensive consumer items. This has resulted
in recalls of a number of metallic toy jewelry items
by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, as well
as actions by state government agencies. Please
click here for further
Update on Toy Safety
Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission
will take new actions on toy and children's product
safety, based on a law passed in 2008, the protections
do not go into effect until February 2009 or later.
There was a recent decision by a CPSC attorney that
manufacturers would be able to continue to sell
contaminated toys until their supplies are depleted.
That decision may be challenged, and the CPSC may
be more effective in the future. But at this time,
there continue to be many unsafe products on the
shelves of stores that contain lead, cadmium, bisphenol
A, phthalates, and other chemicals of concern to
many parents. The levels of lead clearly violate
the law in some cases.
What to look for:
There are no foolproof or easy ways to insure a
toy will not contain hazardous chemicals. But some
steps will reduce the likelihood that a toy contains
hazards such as lead, cadmium, or arsenic. Frequently
observed characteristics in recalled toys and those
containing chemical hazards include:
|items imported from China or other
countries lacking oversight of quality and hazards.
Toys made in the US or European countries with
oversight and regulations may be safer sources.
|small inexpensive trinkets such as children's
play jewelry, key rings, charms, decorative
items, and similar products. A large number
of these items contained high levels of lead,
cadmium, and other toxic heavy metals.
|inexpensive small collectibles with paint
or metal parts. Characters, scale models, and
other pop culture items may have been made with
greater attention to image than safe materials
In addition, soft plastic toys and baby items often
contain phthalates, bisphenol A and similar chemicals
that may harm children. The use of these types of
chemicals is changing rapidly, but there are clearly
many plastic products with ingredients of concern.
A number of websites contain information on specific
products and chemicals. One clearinghouse for information
on toy safety, with links to dozens of other sites,
A new report finds depleted uranium (DU) can be
detected in people more than 20 years after exposure
when using high sensitivity urine tests. Radioactive
DU has also been found in the dust of two homes
and a workplace after the National Lead Industry
sites federal cleanup.
- The isotope measurement testing project, which
has never before been conducted on any US community,
is a joint initiative of United States and United
Kingdom scientists, led by Prof. Randall Parrish.
The results are being published in an international
journal, Science of the Total Environment
The National Lead Industries factory emitted between
5 and 10 tons of DU aerosols from 1958 to 1982.
DU is a toxic chemical due to its heavy metal
and radiological properties. National Lead used
DU to manufacture armor-piercing munitions. For
further information please see the following documents:
- Human Health Effects of Lead
The Public Health Live Broadcast originally aired
on November 15, 2007 is now available to view online.
here to watch the archived webstream of this