Just when you thought it was safe to go to a sports park to take in a game, we learn that the US Consumer Product and Safety Commission -- the CPSC -- is investigating whether artifical turf contains lead at levels above the legal limit. More specifically, lead chromate which is what makes the playing field green. This past week, officials in New Jersey closed two high school fields because of fears that the fibres may break off and players or fans might inhale it.
We know what lead poisoning does to our brains. That's why they got rid of it in gasoline.
It's not too coincidental that the massive surge in players' salary demands in two of the Big Four sports in North America, baseball and football -- beginning with the free agency era -- came around the time that AstroTurf ® and other playing surfaces came into vogue. Maybe there's a link between player greed and the turf.
To its credit the turf industry, while denying a link, is nonetheless now making lead-free versions of the fake grass. In a way, though, I kind of like the real stuff because it makes games so unpredictable.
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