The following open letter was addressed State Del. Aruna Miller.
On behalf of the hundreds of households in Montgomery County who are members of the West Montgomery County Citizens Association, we are grateful for your leadership on HB 883 seeking warning signs on artificial turf fields owned by local governments or school systems.
We hope the county goes much further in its action regarding artificial turf fields, including but not limited to banning any further installation of artificial turf playing fields until extensive, unbiased tests are completed and more is known about the effects of known toxins found in the plastic rugs and the artificial grass blades which make up synthetic turf.
The health and environmental risks posed by these playing fields have been reported in national and regional reports by several reputable media outlets these past two years, so it is high time our locally elected government officials take action. West Montgomery County Citizens Association has for years advocated for a moratorium on the installation of all such playing fields until their impact on human health and the environment is thoroughly examined and those reports are released to the public.
We already know that toxic substances in crumb rubber have been introduced onto dozens of our public high school playing fields without the benefit of any comprehensive safety studies, and that the conversion from safe, healthy, natural playing fields to expensive artificial turf fields continues to be pushed by certain members of the Montgomery County Public School administration without any regard to these health concerns.
We agree with the Children’s Environmental Health Center of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which urges a complete moratorium on the use of artificial turf generated from recycled rubber tires until more is known about the effects of crumb rubber and artificial green blades found in synthetic turf.
The signage bill is extremely mild considering the health and environmental ramifications of fake turf, but we have to start somewhere.
We hope you will be successful in your efforts to convince your colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee to support HB 883 and hope that you will shepherd it through the entire House legislative process to full passage.
We thank you for your leadership, and stand ready to help in any way that we can.
Carol Van Dam Falk
Executive Board Member
West Montgomery County Citizens Association