Schools likely to stick with crumb rubber turf April 01 2015

After chemical tests showed there is no hazardous amount of toxic materials in the artificial turf fields installed at several Glendale schools, officials in the Glendale school district are likely to stick with the turf material they’ve been using for the past decade.

During a school board meeting on Tuesday, Glendale Unified Supt. Dick Sheehan recommended to the school board that the district continue to use artificial turf fields made up of crumb rubber, which is composed largely of recycled tire material.

School officials initially switched to using crumb-rubber fields about a decade ago to reduce the cost of watering and re-seeding the grass.

But in late 2014, an NBC News report told the story of a college soccer coach who created a list of American soccer players nationwide, all of whom had played on crumb-rubber fields and had been diagnosed with cancers such as lymphoma and leukemia.

The news report concerned local parents, who told the Glendale school board that their children bring home bits of rubber in their clothes and that their faces and hands are filthy after playing on the material.

In response, Glendale school officials hired GeoSyntec to analyze the health risk of the crumb-rubber samples from Glendale fields according to standards laid out by both the U.S. and California Environmental Protection Agencies.

“What we found was the crumb-rubber material that we currently use actually came out below the standards,” said Alan Reising, director of facilities for Glendale Unified.

With the testing of the fields complete, Sheehan said the school district did its “due diligence” in closely examining the fields.

“It’s going to be the superintendent’s recommendation that we remain with the same filler we’ve been using,” he said.