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Help Me Test Artificial Turf!!!

Organized by: Steve Longpre

Steve's Photo
Steve's Photo
Steve's Photo
Steve's Photo

EVENT DATE Aug 07, 2015


Is Artificial Turf Safe? Let's find out!

South Hadley is about to build an Artificial Turf field at our High School. I want to be sure our kids will be safe by providing independent 3rd party testing of the Crumb Rubber Infill materials we'll be using. 

But why stop here? Let's test your town's turf fields also, just to be safe!

Crumb Rubber products are made of Used Tires...which are not just rubber, but nearly 1/2 petroleum by-products, industrial chemicals & road waste!!!  
They can contain metal wire, textile fibers, toxic glues & solvents, and Carbon Black, a material similar to coal dust or diesel soot, and used produce paint & inks. Used tires are often coated with road chemicals like lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, zinc and copper, along with phthalates, poly-cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other volatile organic compounds (VOC's). Plus there's the fertilizers, pesticides, garbage effluents, construction materials and human wastes that are regularly transported along our roads and highways! Totally Gross!!! You and I would never consider putting these toxins in our mouths, right? Why in the world would we let children handle or even breath their fumes? 

These are dangerous chemicals similar to those found in cigarettes, and they're being thrown into playgrounds and sports fields, potentially predisposing our children to harm and risk of death.

We haul and dispose of nearly all our recycle-able mercury light-bulb-and-battery-laden-garbage, processed municipal sewer sludge and septic & porta-potty wastes, by road! Often in leaky vehicles dripping oil, gas & anti-freeze to boot! 

Of the 254 million cars, trucks and motorcycles on our roads, what's the chance that some of these vehicles might pick up some of that "crap" and pass it on through the supply chain to our fields & playgrounds? Pretty high...statistically. 

So, How can you help?  

By contributing to our campaign, we'll be able to purchase Lead, Heavy Metal & Chemical Toxicity Testing Kits and begin collecting & processing Crumb Rubber samples from around the country!!! We'll post and map our results online for everyone to see. When we discover a potential safety violation we'll notify State & Local Board of Health Officials, EPA Regulators, the Media and YOU! 

Real Grassroots, Crowd Sourced Environmental Monitoring and Reporting!!! 
Something "We the People..." established our government for in the first place!

What We Need From You...
For as little as $35 and a little volunteer leg-work, you can help us begin the pre-screening process! We'll send you a package in the mail containing:

(6) Sample Collection Containers
(2) Pairs of Nitrile Gloves (for you and a friend)
A return-addressed, postage paid mailer
Detailed instructions on how we'd like you to collect samples
A link to our live database entry form 
News & updates on sampling efforts from around the nation
A copy of our forthcoming  newsletter entitled "Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Crumb Rubber Infill  and It's Potential Risks, Hazards and Alternatives." 
Recognition on our Contributors Page, and our sincere thanks and appreciation for helping us determine the truth about Artificial Turf Crumb Rubber Infill

As children, we would have never been allowed to play on used car & truck tires piling up in our local landfills and junkyards. Even 40 years ago they were considered unsafe! Sure, our neighborhood had a tire-swing or two...but we never spent more than a few hours each week swinging on them. We were out playing sports on grass fields and yards!!! And when we swung, as you probably remember, we got pretty dirty and smelled like...well, tires! 

Publicly available 3rd party research continues to suggest that many of our standardized testing models present overly optimistic low estimates of daily exposure from interaction & ingestion of Crumb Rubber by children   

The EPA even admits that, "given the very limited nature of this study (i.e., limited number of components monitored, samples sites, and samples taken at each site) and the wide diversity of tire crumb material, it is not possible to extend the results beyond the four study sites or to reach any more comprehensive conclusions without the consideration of additional data."[1] 

So whether it's four sites or forty, out of more than 11,000+ Crumb Rubber fields & playgrounds, it still seems pretty sketchy! Today, Crumb & Chunk Rubber Infill is seeing increasing use in parks, playgrounds, sports fields and homes around the country, despite mounting concerns from parent groups and community health officials. Nearly every day stories are aired on the news and the internet, repeating the same question: Is it safe?

So why make a fuss? I make medical device prototypes for a living, so I understand some of the health stakes & liability risks. I also make toys. The Consumer Product Safety Commission limits lead on surface coatings in toys to no more than 90 parts per million.[2] That's less than a quarter of the concentrations the EPA allows in lead contaminated soil.[3] Yet almost every day I see toddlers and kids crawling on and handling Chunk Rubber infill at our local playground! And, they almost never wash their hands before picking their noses or sucking their thumbs. Believe me, I have two kids of my own...I've seen it all!

There's absolutely NO WAY the Consumer Product Safety Commission or the Toy Industry Association, would ever allow choke-able Chunk & Crumb Rubber, laced with toxic metals, wires, fibers and road chemicals to be used as toys, right? So why are toddlers allowed to play on it, or in it or with it? And If it's unsafe for toddlers, it's just as likely to be equally unsafe for older children too!

Regardless of what "industry officials" might say, we need to begin providing 3rd party monitoring of Artificial Turf  Crumb-Rubber installations throughout our nation immediately! Our health and that of our children absolutely depends upon it!

The Impact...

By helping to fund this Campaign, we can extend screening to hundreds, even thousands of communities throughout our nation with similar concerns.

I've been a vocal opponent of Artificial Turf from the beginning because it seems common sense to me (and many others), that using Ground-up Car Tires as playground material may present a real health hazard to our children. Despite our many concerns and questions, Turf Industry Officials, hired Inspectors and Federal & State regulators continue to tout only the benefits of Crumb & Chunk rubber products, a strategy vaguely reminiscent to that of the tobacco industry. 

Other than a few often quoted reports, no conclusive documentation has been provided proving once and for all that every installation of this material is safe for children to play on. 

Each day more and more recycled materials are turned into widely used consumer products, often sourced from nations with far greater environmental challenges than we have here in the US. 

It's nearly impossible to test everything that we import unless we work together. 

When considering the massive environmental cleanup needs of places like China, Africa, South America and the war torn Middle East, we need to ensure that recycled rubber products that our children play on aren't tainted with unregulated chemicals and toxic materials. 
By taking this first step to identify where the hazards may exist, ordinary people like you and I can make an incredible difference.

If we're successful together in assuming this challenge, perhaps someday soon we can apply similar methods with the help of others in nations where impoverished communities struggle everyday to cope with issues of pollution, sanitation, lack of healthy foods & clean water. Please help.

Risks & Challenges
I expect that this project will involve an enormous amount of time and legal & scientific challenges, many no doubt posed by more well funded and influential industry representatives. But, we only need to find a few bad tires in the soccer field to get things cooking, right? So, I'm up for the challenge if you are!
And, while community based volunteer pre-screening of collected Crumb Rubber materials with 3rd party testing may still not provide enough evidence of largess to pose a challenge to the industry, there's no reason not to try. Right?

Even though this effort may ultimately require far greater funding and experience than an International Crowd Sourced Environmental Campaign can raise, if we're successful in finding even one instance of Crumb Rubber Toxicity... we'll be vindicated many times over by the lives we save! Imagine how that might feel!

My background:  My name is Steve Longpre and I'm the Founder of Barnstorm Studio, a small Education Research & Product Development Company, located in South Hadley, Massachusetts. I have a B.S. in Geology/Geochemistry from the UMASS, Amherst, where I studied among other things, Groundwater Hydrology, Physics, Engineering, Remote Environmental Sensing and Social Responsibility.While pursuing my education, I gained valuable Entrepreneurial experience by starting a weekend Sports Entertainment company, to put myself through college.That makes me "in" the industry, and a critic!

I own & operate our areas first thermoplastics 3D Printing company, where I work everyday with professionals from area businesses, colleges and hospitals to bring Additive Manufacturing to our region's schools and healthcare industries. To provide workforce development for my industry, I also work part-time as a Technologies Instructor and Substitute Teacher at middle & high schools in our surrounding towns. 

So If that doesn't convince you, here's what should: 

You're the one who's read this far! So you must agree with something I've said.If so, then we can do this if we work together as a team, and have fun while doing it!

Other Ways You Can Help

We need help contacting people who can locate turf installations around the country. If you're unable to contribute financially, please help spread the word about this project within your neighboring communities.

Act now! Everyday we wait, new playgrounds, sports fields and neighbors are installing Crumb Rubber materials in our communities with little to no 3rd party testing and certification. We need to change that, and potentially affect the lives of thousands of people for the better!

[1] State of California-Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), Contractor’s Report to the Board. Evaluation of Health Effects of Recycled Waste Tires in Playground and Track Products. January 2007.\62206013.pdf Accessed September 5, 2012.

[2] Toy Industry Association, Inc. Update on Changes to ASTM F963 - The U.S. Toy Safety Standard, Al Kaufman, presentation pdf. February 12, 2013 Accessed September 5, 2012.

[3] US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Fact Sheet-The Use of Recycled Tire Materials on Playgrounds & Artificial Turf Fields. Accessed September 5, 2012.

Depleted Uranium: The New Agent Orange, By Aliaume Leroy December 8, 2014

Assessment of Environmental "hot spots" In Iraq, Vol. 832, Military Scrap Metal Industry, Iraq. United Nations Environment Program, 2005.

Artificial Turf Regulation Based on Industry Supplied Data, By Monica Luhar, May 7, 2015

Las Vegans blame hotel fire on lack of regulations for fake trees, by Maria Santos , July 28, 2015

Example of publicly available Material Safety Data Sheet for Crumb Rubber, Rubber MSDS



Organized by

Steve Longpre

This is a direct to organizer fundraiser.

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