Yes, I realize that my last posting was on a similar topic: Replacing the front lawn. So, I thought it most appropriate to follow up with a cautionary tale on the road to a suitable lawn alternative with this timely news flash:
Hazardous substance found in New Jersey!
Maybe not a shocker to all, but the hazardous substance was none other than lead and it was discovered at the Frank Sinatra Park in Hoboken, N.J., in their seemingly green and friendly Astroturf. Yes, Astroturf is not natural and now it (at least in New Jersey) is teeming with nearly 10 times the amount of lead acceptable for human contact, according to New Jersey health officials.
In a Boston Globe posting, New Jersey officials closed two parks because the high levels of lead in the synthetic turf “raised fears athletes could swallow or inhale fibers or dust from the playing surface.” The story goes on to state that the United States has about “3,500 synthetic playing fields made of various materials, including nylon and polyethylene…” So, you don’t have to go all the way to New Jersey to get your daily dose of potentially lead-laden fibers.
I have always been a bit skeptical when it comes to the rough, verdant, synthetic glisten of artificial turf, and as much as I am in an active revolt against the front lawn (see previous posting), I can’t, in good conscience, recommend going synthetically green for this reason alone. So, my advice, keep off the grass, and hold your kid’s nose when they are within a breath of the Astroturf.
Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, N.Y. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit, among other publications.