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

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

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
FORT LEONARD WOOD - Soldiers attending 787th Military Police Battalion for Military Police One Station Unit Training enjoy a traditional... More >>
6 hours ago Thursday, November 23 2017 Nov 23, 2017 Thursday, November 23, 2017 8:45:00 PM CST November 23, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Parks and Recreation had big plans in mind when it first started building a championship level disc... More >>
7 hours ago Thursday, November 23 2017 Nov 23, 2017 Thursday, November 23, 2017 7:49:00 PM CST November 23, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – Shoppers put down their forks and picked up their wallets as Black Friday deals ran into Thanksgiving. ... More >>
7 hours ago Thursday, November 23 2017 Nov 23, 2017 Thursday, November 23, 2017 7:39:00 PM CST November 23, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Volunteers, young and old, served food to hundreds of people for Almeta Crayton’s Everybody Eats 20th Annual Thanksgiving... More >>
12 hours ago Thursday, November 23 2017 Nov 23, 2017 Thursday, November 23, 2017 2:50:00 PM CST November 23, 2017 in News
MEXICO - A 34-year-old man died Thursday morning after he crashed his vehicle. Omar Guadencio Cruz-Martinez, of Mexico, Missouri,... More >>
14 hours ago Thursday, November 23 2017 Nov 23, 2017 Thursday, November 23, 2017 12:47:42 PM CST November 23, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY - The Boone County Sheriff's Department confirmed a pedestrian died after being struck by a car on Wednesday... More >>
15 hours ago Thursday, November 23 2017 Nov 23, 2017 Thursday, November 23, 2017 12:19:00 PM CST November 23, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - There are school choirs, church choirs, and mixed choirs, but now there is the opportunity to join a... More >>
15 hours ago Thursday, November 23 2017 Nov 23, 2017 Thursday, November 23, 2017 11:57:00 AM CST November 23, 2017 in News
BOONVILLE - The breeding home of the Budweiser Clydesdales, Warm Springs Ranch, is hosting its inaugural Holiday Lights Festival starting... More >>
16 hours ago Thursday, November 23 2017 Nov 23, 2017 Thursday, November 23, 2017 10:39:00 AM CST November 23, 2017 in News
COLE COUNTY - The Cole County Sheriff's Department said it is investigating a shooting that happened Wednesday night. ... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 9:58:20 PM CST November 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri basketball star Michael Porter Jr. is recovering after undergoing surgery in Dallas Tuesday. MU said he will... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 6:34:00 PM CST November 22, 2017 in News
BARNETT, Mo - A Morgan County detective is apologizing after shooting and killing a family's dog. He was attempting... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 5:35:00 PM CST November 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - On Wednesday, Columbia police released photos of an October armed robbery at Dash Liquor. On October 29,... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 5:01:00 PM CST November 22, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Highway Patrol is joining the fight against opioids. The drug has caused a nationwide crisis,... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 4:27:00 PM CST November 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - A Columbia man involved in a deadly shooting in May has been indicted by a federal grand jury... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 4:04:00 PM CST November 22, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – With Thanksgiving comes a lot more traffic on the roads. In fact, according to AAA there will... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 2:14:00 PM CST November 22, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley sent a letter to Uber on Wednesday demanding the rideshare take immediate... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 1:51:00 PM CST November 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - City Council voted 4-2 on Monday to postpone a preliminary plat for Columbia Public Schools’ new middle school... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 11:03:00 AM CST November 22, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - A Boone County judge approved a change of venue request for a man accused in a deadly October... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, November 22 2017 Nov 22, 2017 Wednesday, November 22, 2017 10:56:00 AM CST November 22, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 40°
4am 39°
5am 39°
6am 40°
7am 40°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

2:37a
Today with Kathie Lee & Hoda
3:30a
Early Today
4:00a
Early Today
3:00a
Paid Program
3:30a
Paid Program
4:00a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas
7:30p
Trolls Holiday Special
8:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
iHeartRadio Music Festival, Night 2
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld