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Mayor Wu says no new fake grass in parks

From the Guardian:

Boston bans artificial turf in parks due to toxic ‘forever chemicals’

Boston’s mayor, Michelle Wu, has ordered no new artificial turf to be installed in city parks, making Boston the largest municipality in a small but growing number around the nation to limit use of the product because it contains dangerous chemicals.

All artificial turf is made with toxic PFAS compounds and some is still produced with ground-up tires that can contain heavy metals, benzene, VOCs and other carcinogens that can present a health threat. The material also emits high levels of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and sheds microplastics and other chemicals into waterways.

Beyond chemical risks, the fields can act as heat islands that increase playing field temperatures to as much as 93C (200F), Evans noted. National Football League players are pressuring the league to ban artificial turf because of injuries, while the US national soccer teams will only play on natural grass for the same reason.

In a statement to the Guardian, a spokesperson for Wu said: “The city has a preference for grass playing surfaces wherever possible and will not be installing playing surfaces with PFAS chemicals moving forward.”

Neighborhoods: 

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Comments

And when that grass doesn't get mowed for weeks and weeks, 311 will let you know they are experiencing a backlog and that your case is closed.

Fantastic!

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Voting closed 45

What grass.

But serious question. If you have a "field" with grass, and you have kids/teams/activities on that grass and you want it to stay nice and not erode away, don't you have to put some sort of fertilizer on it? I know about natural fertilizers but are we looking at pros and cons for a few turf fields that can be used in the winter/spring that dogs aren't allowed on versus "grass" fields that get fertilized and pooped/pissed on year round?

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Voting closed 21

Playing fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, street hockey rinks, sidewalks and driveways, to name just a few. It's almost as though the owners are playing BINGO with dog shit.

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Voting closed 27

Dog waste is not good fertilizer, believe me.

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Voting closed 8

It’s just grass.

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Voting closed 31

The more likely complaint is why is the city paying to have a crew mow a large patch of dirt.

It's really hard to keep playing fields nice and lush when they are in constant use. That's why cities opt for artificial turf in the first place.

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Voting closed 42

So the kids and adults will play in excrement.

And they don't have enough fields for kids and adults to use, so the grass will become mud.

This solution only works if Wu quadruples (at least) the number of grass fields available, and actually requires the Parks Department to maintain them in good working order.

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Voting closed 14

Whitey kept the fake grass out of Southie.

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Voting closed 21

I hear that carbon stuff is pretty nasty.

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Voting closed 14

its going to be harder to see the needles.

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Voting closed 32

1980s

Oh, having artificial turf is the wave of the future, and it even can be made out of recycled plastic. No watering, no gas mower, no chemicals, virtually no maintenance. totally a win win for the environment.

Now:

That artificial turf will kill you.

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Voting closed 23

Astroturf has been around since the 60s. That's the last time it was considered "the wave of the future".

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Voting closed 13

That Dippin' Dots are no longer the ice cream of the future?

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Voting closed 25

...I've always thought of Dippin' Dots as the ice cream of that old open top cooler from the 1950s that that funky grocery store doesn't know what else to do with but can't bear to throw out.

("is there such a thing as stale ice cream, or are these supposed to be like this?")

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Voting closed 6

But this is what I heard in the 1980s.. and at the time, many were made out of recycled plastic and other fibers. That wasn't a thing when they first came out.

It still was pushed as a wave of the future and still being widely installed. Until people started getting injured on it (because it is rough) and schools stopped installing them.

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Voting closed 8

Am skeptical about the PFAS problem because you can imagine that researchers (who are motivated by interesting findings) analyzed samples from brand new turf not from year old turf. On old turf most of the PFAS mold release residue will have rinsed away from being exposed to weather.

But for crumb rubber the evidence is scary. Search for "soccer goalie cancer" to see how bad it is.

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Voting closed 10

There's already a dearth of fields in the neighborhood. Youth sports practices regularly go until 9 pm, which isn't great for the kids.

The City is taking 4 softball/baseball/soccer fields at the Ryan playground offline for at least a year beginning in 2023. The project at the high school is absolutely necessary.

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Voting closed 15

Its the wave of the future... the future of now.

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Voting closed 8

Why my mother was born in Southie, in the shadow of the L Street power plant. Two of her six siblings actually lived to the ripe old age of 60, and she died after her second bout of cancer at 84. That proves it had nothing to do with the environment, just as Boston Edison always said.

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Voting closed 10

60 hasn't been a "ripe old age" for a long, long time.

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Voting closed 14

It would get a lot of rotten, odious people out of both public service and the electorate.

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Voting closed 7

.

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Voting closed 14

When it comes to Southie (OK, except for those "Whitey kept the [X] out of Southie" comments).

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Voting closed 8

Better sit down.

‘Forever chemicals’ detected in all umbilical cord blood in 40 studies

Toxic PFAS chemicals were detected in every umbilical cord blood sample across 40 studies conducted over the last five years, a new review of scientific literature from around the world has found.

The studies collectively examined nearly 30,000 samples, and many linked fetal PFAS exposure to health complications in unborn babies, young children and later in life. The studies’ findings are “disturbing”, said Uloma Uche, an environmental health science fellow with the Environmental Working Group, which analyzed the peer-reviewed studies’ data.

The federal government estimates that they are found in 98% of Americans’ blood. The chemicals are linked to birth defects, cancer, kidney disease, liver problems and other health issues, and the EPA recently found effectively no level of exposure to some kinds of PFAS in water is safe.

More proof that corporate citizens can't be trusted to not screw things up.

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Voting closed 12

Is the city banning all carpeting as well (synthetic turf is just outdoor carpet with infill)? Or surgical tape? Both have the same amount of PFAS which is to say that it is not bio-available and has no human impact. PFAS levels often higher in the soil than the synthetic turf system. So why is the city selecting to ban synthetic turf but all others get a pass?

Also, plenty of alternates for infill other than ground up rubber. Somerville has installed several turf fields with a natural infill instead of rubber and a shock pad to protect against impact injuries.

Bad decisions made on bad information based on speculation and fear mongering by the city. Almost everything you touch has some level of PFAS. It is all about limiting negative impact which no study or data has shown that turf fields have a negative impact or high enough levels to affect humans.

So kids not being able to play outside or having to play on dangerous dirt and rock fields is better? Uninformed people making decisions that will end up being much worse for all field users.

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Voting closed 12

Have updated my Charlestown High School story after the mayor's office e-mailed to say that while the mayor prefers real grass be the grass of choice on city fields, she has NOT banned the use of artificial turf.

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Voting closed 7

Artificial playing turf is not shock-absorbent, and, when players (i. e. children and adult athletes alike) play and end up taking falls, as is apt to happen during games, the resulting injuries can be concussions and other head injuries, joint injuries, broken bones and other injuries.

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Voting closed 6