EHHI OpEd: An open letter on the dangers of synthetic turf from the physicians of EHHI
To Whom it may Concern,
We as physicians and health professionals understand that many schools and towns are
sensing that they need more playing time on their athletic fields – and as a way of
addressing this issue they are turning to installing synthetic turf fields.
Synthetic turf fields are usually infilled with 40,000 used tires that make up the
crumb rubber infill.
What concerns us as physicians and health professionals is that there is mounting
evidence that the rubber tire infill material can be carcinogenic and therefore
there could be a health risk for those students and athletes who play on these
We worry that it is possible, in light of the increasing evidence that is being
revealed, that students who play on synthetic turf fields may be at risk for health
problems. Many of the students who play on these fields have now played on synthetic
turf fields for years — thus continuing to play on them simply adds to the students'
exposures. The rubber tire infill has been shown to be particularly dangerous when
it is in inside facilities or covered over, because the chemicals concentrate and
create greater exposures.
The safest material for students and athletes to play on is grass. We believe that
what has happened with synthetic turf fields has been a massive failure of
government to protect the public by allowing shredded-up waste tires to get into the
market place and put where children, students and athletes play. As a result, a
generation of children and athletes has been put at risk.
Thank you for your consideration of our views.
Pinar Kodaman, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and
Reproductive Sciences, Yale University School of Medicine
Hugh Taylor, MD, Anita O'Keefe Young Professor and Chair of the Yale Department of
Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences.
Robert LaCamera, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Yale University School of
Susan Addiss MPH, MUrS, Past Commissioner of the State Department of Public
Andrea Asnes, MD, MSW, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Yale School of
Nancy Alderman, MES, President of Environment and Human Health Inc.