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Chicago Community Park Association Sues Over “Lead in Artificial Turf Field”

Chicago watchdog group – Protect Our Parks – POP – HAS instigated a law suit against local officials on the basis of the characteristics of components of the artificial turf crumb rubber infill. (see links below)

The original lawsuit, filed on or around April 14, 2008, was based upon a series of issues revolving around the way the defendants in the case had gone about contracting for the construction of the field – that it was made without proper notice, proper building permits and the possible limit of the use of the field to the public.”  Copy of the first complaint HERE (April 16 – 2008)

POP alleges that the defendants have totally ignored the recent safety warning from U.S. Center for Disease Control that cautioned persons exposed to existing artificial turf fields not eat or drink anything on the field, shower and scrub vigorously after play, turn their clothes inside out and launder separately from other clothing, and leave their shoes out of doors, all to limit the exposure to the contaminants in the dust emitted from the turf fields.

POP alleges that the Park District and Latin School have disregarded all warnings and made no effort to conduct independent tests of either the soil, ambient air, or the turf product, before picking the site solely for its convenience to the Latin School, located at the edge of the park, which is used by Latin as a virtually private play field.

The second lawsuit alleges that the installation of this artificial turf product is in violation of the Chicago Lead Bearing Substances Ordinance, and asks for an immediate Injunction preventing its installation. NEW POP Complaint is posted HERE (Oct 14, 2008)

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Original Headline:

Group claims controversial Lincoln Park soccer field is toxic

October 14, 2008

A project to build a controversial Lincoln Park soccer field that was approved in August despite opposition from neighbors was hit with another stumbling block Tuesday.

Protect Our Parks, a not-for-profit corporation, and Eurydice Chrones, a Lincoln Park resident, filed a three-count lawsuit claiming the soccer field is toxic because the field’s artificial turf contains lead.

The suit claims lead is a toxic metal and the primary users of the field, infants and children, would be particularly susceptible to lead’s toxic effect.

The suit seeks to stop the construction of the artificial field at the south end of the park and to order the removal of all artificial turf on the field. The field is located at 1840 N. Cannon Dr.

The community group has already lost several battles with the Chicago Park District and The Latin School of Chicago over the field at the south end of the park.

The community group previously attempted to get the Park District to return the soccer field to its original meadow-like state, but instead the Park District voted to keep building the soccer field.

The community group also claimed the Park District didn’t factor in opposition from community residents about building the field, and the community group was not given enough time to challenge the Park District’s decision to go ahead with the project.

The suit Tuesday claims artificial turf, which is comprised of rubber tire crumbs, can cause serious health problems for children and adults when the chemical compounds are released into the air and ground water.

The suit claims the Park District and Latin School of Chicago have failed to design a drainage system that protects Lake Michigan. The field lies adjacent to Lake Shore Drive, and is designed to drain and discharge all runoff directly into Lake Michigan without treatment or waste processing.

The suit names multiple defendants including the Latin School of Chicago, Park District, Gery J. Chico, President, Board of Commissioners, Chicago Plan Commission, city of Chicago, Suzanne Malec-McKenna, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Environment, Sadhu Johnston, Commissioner for Environmental Issues, FieldTurf USA, Inc., a Florida Corporation, among others.

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