TARGET 8: Columbia Schools say crumb rubber turf fields are safe

1 year 1 month 2 weeks ago January 07, 2016 Jan 7, 2016 Thursday, January 07 2016 Thursday, January 07, 2016 10:05:00 PM CST in Target 8
By: Nick Komisar, KOMU 8 Reporter
Embed Code Copied

COLUMBIA - The safety of crumb rubber turf fields has become questioned nationwide. Lawmakers have asked multiple federal agencies to conduct studies on the substance that is made in part from recycled tires. 

Crumb rubber turf is used on playgrounds and sporting fields across the country. Former athletes and parents have voiced their concerns that the materials might contain dangerous levels of carcinogens for kids who play on the recycled rubber surfaces.  

Congress asked the EPA to look into the concerns. On the EPA's website it says, "Current information from a number of tire crumb studies does not show an elevated health risk from playing on fields with synthetic turf or tire crumbs. However, these studies do not comprehensively address new questions and concerns about children's health risks from exposure to crumb rubber." 

It goes on to say that the EPA encourages more studies to be done to evaluate the safety of the turf, and that the agency is working along side California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to provide a more complete assessment of the materials. 

In Columbia, all three public high schools have crumb rubber turf football fields, and Hickman's baseball field is turf as well. 

The KOMU 8 News investigative team reached out to CPS officials to see if there are concerns about the safety of the fields. 

Bruce Whitesides, the CPS athletic director, said the fields are safe and the district did their homework before putting them in. 

He cited a study from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment that stated the exposure levels were well below dangerous levels. 

"We are not cavalierly putting our students at risk with anything that's unsafe," Whitesides said. "We feel very comfortable about the findings and that we keep our kids safe while they are participating on our activity fields."

He went on and said he believes turf fields have a lot of benefits over grass fields. 

"It's playable, it's always consistent in its play," Whitesides said. "There's no other uneven wear and tear that may cause indirect injuries, i.e. ankle injuries or knee injuries of that effect." 

He said the maintenance on the turf fields is easier than a typical grass field, and with the amount of students on the field on a daily-basis, he believes it is the districts best option. 

Soccer teams, football teams, bands and various other activities participate on the fields. That large amount of use would tear up grass fields, especially in incliment weather. With turf, the district is able to fill in divets and holes immediately with extra rubber that is kept near the fields. 

Whitesides said the turf also provides extra cushion, especially in really cold temperatures when grass fields harden.

Liz Rettke is a mother of children who play on the fields. She agrees with Whitesides that the consistency of turf is a benefit.

She also said based on the studies currently available, she sees no problem with her kids playing on turf.

"If you really average out the number of hours they spend on the field, it's probably not that many," Rettke said. "And there's also a lot of other places we can get those carcinogens. Unless more science comes out that shows 'yes, there is a significant health risk,' then I think the benefits of them playing sports outweigh the risks."

Other parents I spoke with agreed with Rettke that turf provides some safety features that grass does not.

KOMU 8 News also contacted other school districts in mid-Missouri to see what surface their fields are. A map representing that is below.

More News

Grid
List
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal appeals court is ordering a resentencing for a southwest Missouri restaurateur in a $5.5-million... More >>
1 hour ago February 22, 2017 Feb 22, 2017 Wednesday, February 22 2017 Wednesday, February 22, 2017 11:17:30 AM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is shunning the state plane and instead relying on private donors and... More >>
1 hour ago February 22, 2017 Feb 22, 2017 Wednesday, February 22 2017 Wednesday, February 22, 2017 10:26:10 AM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Authorities say an officer has fatally shot a man who is accused of firing at officers... More >>
2 hours ago February 22, 2017 Feb 22, 2017 Wednesday, February 22 2017 Wednesday, February 22, 2017 9:39:50 AM CST in News
UNIVERSITY CITY (AP) — A suburban St. Louis Jewish cemetery badly damaged by vandals is getting a show of support... More >>
2 hours ago February 22, 2017 Feb 22, 2017 Wednesday, February 22 2017 Wednesday, February 22, 2017 9:29:00 AM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A proposal that could allow travelers to drink alcohol at flight gates at St. Louis and... More >>
2 hours ago February 22, 2017 Feb 22, 2017 Wednesday, February 22 2017 Wednesday, February 22, 2017 9:21:54 AM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Police released surveillance photos on Wednesday related to a recent attempted robbery at Kilgore's Pharmacy on Chapel Hill... More >>
2 hours ago February 22, 2017 Feb 22, 2017 Wednesday, February 22 2017 Wednesday, February 22, 2017 9:20:00 AM CST in News
MARSHFIELD (AP) — A southwest Missouri prison supervisor has been charged with pushing a female employee into a cell while... More >>
3 hours ago February 22, 2017 Feb 22, 2017 Wednesday, February 22 2017 Wednesday, February 22, 2017 9:17:00 AM CST in News
COLUMBIA – The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is hosting a State Advocacy Day on Wednesday to raise awareness for... More >>
3 hours ago February 22, 2017 Feb 22, 2017 Wednesday, February 22 2017 Wednesday, February 22, 2017 8:59:00 AM CST in News
COLUMBIA – The Columbia Chamber of Commerce is holding a financial services forum with representatives from Congress and local bank... More >>
9 hours ago February 22, 2017 Feb 22, 2017 Wednesday, February 22 2017 Wednesday, February 22, 2017 2:32:00 AM CST in News
COLUMBIA - When the FBI arrested terror suspect Robert Lorezo Hester, his friend and neighbor Analee Shatlain said she was... More >>
14 hours ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 10:06:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Some people on the front lines of drug abuse prevention and rehabilitation have suggestions for parents on how... More >>
14 hours ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 9:32:43 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence has planned to visit Missouri Wednesday to tour an equipment and engine... More >>
17 hours ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 7:16:00 PM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The wife and stepson of the leader of a Ku Klux Klan group who was found... More >>
18 hours ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 6:17:41 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — Democrats are asking Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens to allow an expansion of family leave options for employees... More >>
18 hours ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 5:39:34 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council rolled out an overhaul of city development and housing rules Monday. The city... More >>
19 hours ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 4:58:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are considering proposals to update state driver's licensing procedures to comply with federal law.... More >>
19 hours ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 4:41:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA – Emotions were high as people told gut wrenching stories about how they are affected by the Affordable Care... More >>
20 hours ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 3:54:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Gender accessibility has become a controversial topic on a national level, and a bill presented at a... More >>
21 hours ago February 21, 2017 Feb 21, 2017 Tuesday, February 21 2017 Tuesday, February 21, 2017 2:50:00 PM CST in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 58°
1pm 74°
2pm 76°
3pm 78°
4pm 78°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
12:30p
Inside Edition
1:00p
Days of Our Lives
12:00p
Jerry Springer
1:00p
Maury
2:00p
Judge Alex

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Blindspot
8:00p
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
9:00p
Chicago P.D.
7:00p
Arrow
8:00p
The 100
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld