(NaturalNews) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that certain artificial turf fields he tested for lead after high levels of the toxic metal were found in several athletic fields in New Jersey.
"Limited sampling ... indicates that artificial turf made of nylon or nylon/polyethylene blend fibers contains levels of lead that pose a potential public health concern," the CDC said in a public health advisory.
Many artificial turf fields contain pigments made with lead chromate, which adds a green color that is resistant to fading in sunlight. But studies suggest that as the fields age and start to break down, lead dust may be released at dangerous levels.
The problem was discovered serendipitously, when New Jersey health officials were checking to see if a playing field had been contaminated by runoff from a neighboring scrap metal site and instead found high lead content coming from the field itself. Two other artificial turf fields with elevated levels of lead were found soon after.
All three fields have been voluntarily removed.
Based on tests conducted by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, the CDC has recommended testing of any artificial nylon or nylon blend-based turf fields that have visible dust or appear worn or faded. The agency has not recommended testing of new fields or those made from polyethylene alone.
The CDC also recommends that those who play on artificial turf fields should wash their hands and shower immediately afterward. Clothes worn on the fields should be turned inside out and washed separately from other laundry. Athletic shoes worn on artificial turf should not be taken indoors. Finally, drinking containers taken onto artificial turf should be covered and placed inside another container, such as a bag or cooler, when not in use.
Managers of artificial turf fields may want to water then down periodically or take other measures to keep down dust, the CDC said.