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CEH States CPSC Artificial Turf Study Is Flawed – Not Enough Samples, Safe Harbor Benchmarks Too Low

CEHCA: Oakland, CA

July 30, 2008

“The Center for Environmental Health is disappointed but not surprised that the CPSC has today released a flawed analysis of the dangers to children from artificial turf.” states Executive Director, Michael Green.

The Oakland, California based watch-dog group is a champion for environmental health and well being with a particularly aggressive track-record of rooting out violations using their Public Interest Litigation Program which leverages the California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Proposition 65) to eliminate toxins from industrial emissions and consumer products.

CPSC’s turf analysis uses a lead standard that is 30 times less protective than California law and an approach that was designed for testing arsenic-treated wood that was not developed for use with turf.” says Caroline Cox, CEH Research Director.

Last year, CEH found other lead threats to children, including high levels of lead in vinyl baby bibs and vinyl children’s lunchboxes; CPSC released similar test data and misleading statements about the safety of these products.

Despite CPSC’s statements on the “safety” of baby bibs and lunchboxes, in 2007, violators settled lawsuits brought by CEH under California law, judged under Proposition 65 exposure guidelines, which are significantly more protective of children and consumer health than most states and many national benchmarks.

CEH efforts, not those of the CPSC,  protected consumers, by eliminating the lead threat to children by focusing the attention of those industry stakeholders to the efforts and expense of reformulating their products to meet CA standards.

CEH will hold turf makers and retailers to the same high standard.” states Cox.

Noted Flaws in CPSC’s artificial turf study include:

  • The CPSC evaluation is based on the outdated assumption that exposure of 15 micrograms of lead per day is acceptable for children. The California standard is 30 times more protective, and current science suggests that no level of exposure to lead is safe for children. For example, the U.S. Public Health Service states, “No safe blood lead level in children has been determined.”
  • The CPSC evaluation does not consider that children will contact turf multiple times while playing, thus making multiple exposures to lead likely.
  • The CPSC, based only on what the agency calls “limited hand sampling,” minimizes the potential for children to be exposed to lead, by assuming that children will be exposed to five times less lead than the agency’s protocol actually found.
  • The CPSC’s data shows clearly that lead exposure increases dramatically as turf ages. CPSC ignores the problem that exposure estimates from new turf significantly underestimate real-life exposure.

To date, CEH has tested over 150 turf samples, including dozens of samples sent to the nonprofit by concerned customers. By contrast, CPSC’s report shows they tested only 14 samples, representing only 4 manufacturers.

Read the original release, here:

Caroline Cox, Sr. Research Mgr:
510-594-9864 x. 308 (office) or 541-654-2626 (cell) or

Charles Margulis, Communications Director
510-697-0615 (cell)

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