Bypassing the game of Password

December 17, 2008  - By

By: Rick Doyle, Synthetic Turf Council

Remember the childhood game of Password, where the original phrase selected was usually laughably different by the time it circulated around the room? It shows just how much a piece of information can be embellished, and shift in a short period of time.

The same is true in the world at large. Over the past year, the Synthetic Turf Council has worked diligently to educate the community and dispel misperceptions about a number of issues. Because the public and so many users of turf continue to approach us with questions, I wanted to share insight about how the game of password has continued in just the past week.

On Dec. 18, the Dallas bureau of the Associated Press ran a story reporting high lead content levels at two legendary Texas synthetic turf fields. The article also raised concern about lead being leached into the environment through storm water runoff from the field. Fortunately, the people who were quoted or mentioned in the AP story and others immediately came forward to state clearly and emphatically that they believe synthetic turf is safe. By the next day, the record was set straight with additional news coverage that presented all of the facts and full context.

A week earlier, a local television report in Seattle suggested that synthetic turf may have caused a teenager’s cancer. We wish the young patient a speedy and full recovery. But the news outlet did not check out the facts before running the piece, featuring the family’s speculation instead of science. They incorrectly inferred that crumb rubber might have caused a problem on a field that didn’t contain rubber infill. We sent the reporter information after the piece ran that provided the full story.

I encourage Athletic Turf readers to dig deeper whenever they see a media report making dramatic allegations about synthetic turf. The first question to ask is whether the story is based on science or speculation. Numerous independent and current research, technical papers, government and regulatory agency position statements are available for review on the Synthetic Turf Council website at www.syntheticturfcouncil.org. You can also call our organization with questions at any time.

Thanks for your continued support and the opportunity to educate the industry about synthetic turf. We wish you a happy holiday season and a prosperous, healthy new year!

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