New Paltz parents urge district to move away from synthetic turf upgrades
Nearly 100 parents and residents of the New Paltz (NY) Central School District (NPCSD) submitted a letter mid-December to district officials with the request and citing findings from a recent buildings condition survey that identified needs across the district—including the athletic facilities.The letter included a request to not use synthetic, saying it was “hazardous, controversial, and financially imprudent.”
A recent story from Hudson Valley One detailed the community’s desire to get rid of synthetic field turfs for youth athletics.
Below is an excerpt from the Hudson Valley One story.
“Even with excellent maintenance, most deteriorate quickly and need to be replaced after an average of eight years,” reads the letter. “In New Paltz, this will require another $3 million allocation before the current first graders reach high school, plus the high cost of disposing of the old field through UCCRA.”
There are also numerous health issues relating to synthetic turf, claims the letter, including the possibility of “turf burn,” which can serve as a gateway to microbial pathogens that can live on plastic grass for extended periods. Synturf fields can also become anywhere from 40-to-70 degrees hotter than the surrounding air.
“At a Connecticut school in 2015, several football players received blistering burns from the plastic field,” reads the letter. “More recently, synturf at a Texas high school became hot enough to melt shoes.”
There are also concerns about exposure to the toxic materials often used in the manufacturing of synthetic turf.
The letter was signed by numerous district parents and residents, as well as town supervisor Neil Bettez, village deputy mayor Alexandria Wojcik, and parent Megan Wolff, who has a background in health policy and a doctorate in public health with a specialty in the health impact of plastics.
“(Synturf is) essentially plastic carpet,” Wolff said during a meeting of the board of education held on Wednesday, December 20. “It’s a petrochemical material and as such, it’s made with numerous heavy metals and chemical additives which leech constantly. These include lead and neurotoxin as well as cadmium, benzene, and other chemicals which children and adolescents are especially vulnerable to. Many are carcinogens associated with leukemia, lymphoma, and glioblastoma, a brain cancer that has been popping up in baseball players and soccer goalies at unusual rates. Kids who play on the fields often refer to the rubber turds that they find themselves covered with, which is the tire crumb infill.”