Citing health concerns from lead, the Vancouver Park Board is set to hear a motion Monday night that recommends a closer look at the city’s artificial turf fields.
The motion comes after the crumb rubber pellets in the artificial turf at Trillium Park and Vancouver Technical Secondary School playing fields tested positive for lead.
A group of concerned citizens asked for lab tests on the crumbs, which are made up of ground-up car tires, and found that lead is present.
The motion, which was put forward by park board commissioner John Irwin, notes that SFU professor Bruce Lanphear, who has studied the effects of lead on children, has said there is no safe level of lead in children’s blood.
The motion asks for the board to measure the lead level in all the artificial turf fields under its jurisdiction and take steps to keep the rubber bits out of the stormwater system.
In 2017, the park board looked at health concerns around artificial turf following a series of news stories in the U.S. about “the health effects of crumb rubber in synthetic turf and a possible link between crumb rubber and cancer.” An assistant coach of the University of Washington’s women’s soccer team had made headlines after she raised concerns that a number of players she knew had been diagnosed with cancer.
The Vancouver Park Board said it spoke to a turf consultant and the Vancouver Coastal Health’s chief medical health officer, who said “serious health risks, including cancer, are not increased from playing on synthetic turf fields with crumb rubber infill” and “there is no public health reason for discontinuing the use of synthetic turf.”