Keyword Site Search

Re: Recycled Tire Usage

This letter is by no means a criticism of the design and technical competence and integrity evident in the Forsyth School project ("Forsyth School's Creative Outdoors," June issue). My concern and continued frustration is raised in reading of the project's use of artificial turf and a sport's track of "styrene budadine rubber--from tires, hoses, etc.", and speaks to an issue beyond any single project and to the profession in general and the larger environmental challenges facing our society.

Over the past couple of years numerous studies have been conducted and validated indicating tire crumbs in artificial turf contain significant amounts of volatile organic compounds, including benzothiazole, hexadecane, 4-(tert-Octyl)-phenol and butylated hyroxyanisole. These chemicals are irritants at the least and carcinogens at the worst. Furthermore, summer heat tends to outgas these substances at a much quicker and concentrated rate.

As recently as June 18, 2008, the CDC issued a warning regarding the use of artificial turf based on high levels of lead found in field dust. They also advised that children ages six and younger are most susceptible to lead's harmful health effects and to protect the public, in particular young children, facilities should consider posting signs indicating:

"After playing on the field, individuals are encouraged to perform aggressive hand and body washing for at least 20 seconds using soap and warm water."

I'm dismayed to see these products used at all, but especially in an elementary school environment. As stewards of the environment we need to maintain an awareness of the everchanging technological advancements occurring at breakneck speed, yet not be so quick to assume the manufacturing industry has everyone's best interest in mind (read: health). Yes, this material has been used repeatedly for years and it's easier to continue following the status quo until eventually some regulatory group bans its use. We need to be on the forefront making that claim, not waiting for someone else to do it. As visionaries we need to combine the art and science of our profession to produce better solutions.

Paul Gauguin said, "Art is either plagiarism or revolution." Plagiarizing bad ideas is not art at all, just mere folly.

Jack Rossi, RLA
Strafford, Vermont

Editor's note: The CDC alert stemmed from the results of a periodic monitoring of lead levels by the N.J. Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) at a Newark, N.J. scrap metal facility. The agencies also tested a nearby public athletic field with artificial turf. The agencies reported the fields contained potentially unhealthy levels of lead in the turf dust, and that the lead in the athletic field samples did not come from the scrap metal facility. The NJDHSS then tested other athletic fields with artificial turf in New Jersey and found that artificial turf made of nylon or nylon/polyethylene blend fibers contained levels of lead that pose a "potential public health concern."

The CDC warning was specifically concerned about older artificial turf made of nylon or nylon/polyethylene blend fibers. Turf made with only polyethylene fibers showed very low levels of lead. CDC stated:

"Fields that are old, that are used frequently, and that are exposed to the weather break down into dust as the turf fibers are worn or demonstrate progressive signs of weathering, including fibers that are abraded, faded or broken. These factors should be considered when evaluating the potential for harmful lead exposures from a given field."

The NJDHSS asked the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to investigate this potential problem. The CDC and ATSDR are awaiting guidance from the CPSC for further public health recommendations and actions.

In a NJDHSS release of June 3, 2008, Heather Howard, NJDHSS health and senior services commissioner, stated:

"Further laboratory testing has shown that lead can be dissolved from artificial turf fibers and turf field dust under conditions that simulate the human digestive process, leaving the lead available for the body to absorb."

For further information:

The CDC's "Potential Exposure to Lead in Artificial Turf" statement []

The NJDHSS's "Final Artificial Turf Test Results" document []

Some of those who knew him ("Moment of Silence"--Thomas Paul Papandrew, FASLA [] wrote in to offer fond remembrances.

Tom Papandrew, FASLA


Some time ago at an ASLA function I met Tom. He not only inspired me with the profession but also encouraged me to participate with the ASLA. Tom's enthusiasm in the profession was key to me overcoming my frustrations with the profession and it was, and still is, that type of enthusiasm I look for at ASLA events. I'll always remember Tom for inspiring me to keep the faith.

Bart Brown
Landscape Architect
City of Chandler, Ariz.


Tom Papandrew will be greatly missed and will live in my heart forever. He is one of the most generous people I've known and has been my mentor for nearly 30 years. He is my hero.

Chris Brown
Canin Associates
Orlando, Fla.

"Hero, Mentor, Friend"

When you speak of someone as "larger than life," Tom fits that description. He was a hero, mentor, friend, and icon to me. He encouraged me, challenged me and supported me in my ASLA and landscape architectural career. I too have taken a different twist to my later life career and found Tom to be an example in that respect as well. We miss you Tom.

Russ Adsit, FASLA
International Erosion Control Association
Steamboat Springs, Colo.

Re: "Warning: Check Tree-Care Credentials" in which a coalition of arborists and urban foresters urges only certified tree-care professionals be hired for tree care.

In response to your article, my daughter and I have been endeavoring to get a grant for in-depth training regarding trimming and removal of palm trees. I have 45 yrs. experience in tree care and have been working with palms since 1960. There are few people left in the industry with the required knowledge to train individuals in safe practices working with palms. We have been trying for nearly a year to get a grant through CAL FIRE and have been working through the Western Chapter if the ISA, who would administer the grant if offered. This information and training is essential so we can save lives. My hopes and prayers are that this message will reach someone who can help us see this project through. Budget figures are available.

Rich Magarga
Certified Arborist #662
Borrego Springs, Calif.

Search Site by Story Keywords

Related Stories

May 26, 2019, 3:18 pm PDT

Website problems, report a bug.
Copyright © 2019 Landscape Communications Inc.