Letter: Turf field hazards should give pause

Turf field hazards should give pause

To the editor:

The drama unfolding at Pittsfield's Berkshire Community College over a proposed turf field installation is one that has been played out over the past 10 years all over the country in small towns, suburbs and cities alike.

Consider these facts. Artificial turf fields are composed of hundreds of thousands of tire infill crumbs that emit known toxic carcinogens. The recycled tires are known irritants to skin and eyes, and the synthetic fields increase in temperature to over 140 degrees in summer heat inflicting serious skin injuries to athletes. Above all else, numerous studies have linked the turf fields to immune and nervous system disorders and to lymphoma cancers in athletes.

These hazards are real with mounting causation evidence, as new data and studies have been released over the past decade. And yet high schools, universities and municipalities continue to build these fields for their maintenance cost savings and durability; aided in part by the ambitious promotion of the construction companies that install them.

It is paradoxical that this is taking place in Berkshire County, a leader in the environment's green philosophy. But what is perhaps more ominous is that the city of Pittsfield has stood at the epicenter of an environmental debacle, the victim of dumping and polluting of the Housatonic River by General Electric.

With much at stake here, proponents of these fields should step back and fully consider the mounting evidence of potentially alarming health hazards caused by tire crumbs before calling forth the bulldozers to commence construction.

Lynn Villency Cohen Stockbridge


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