Letter to the editor: Artificial Turf Another Step Away From Nature. Another Increased Tax Burden?

parsippany focus
lettersDear Editor:
Artificial Turf is old tires, petroleum and plastic waste. Ford, Michelin and Monsanto began manufacturing it in 1964. It is no longer used in its first place of installment, Houston Texas, in 1966.
 
Parsippany’s board of education has apparently pulled off a tax seizure coup of 2.4 million dollars to be used by the board for artificial turf fields, not education. Some questions need be answered. It would appear to any person outside the advocates for the artificial playing fields; sport fanatics, that no “due diligence” at all was performed; as to the known and yet unknown risks of playing on artificial turf.

It is hard to believe that parents in Parsippany would, with overwhelming consent agree to have their children play on such artificial surfaces. When one is not sure of health risks, one should support caution and restraint. Many Municipalities have opted not to have such fields installed. One misleading argument that the Industry uses is that only two alternatives exist, expensive lawns or artificial turf. Not true; developments in “organic lawn care” in recent years give us a less expensive long term, healthier safer solution. These organic fields can be installed for one-third to one-half the cost of artificial turf.

 
Artificial turf installed in a place like Parsippany will lead to ground water pollution with recharge issues. The surface will erode exposing toxins in the rubber and plastic used that will breakdown into pollution particles. Maintenance of the surface requires disinfectants, and washing, adding further contamination to the ground waters. The soil under the turf will become organically dead as the rubber; plastic compounds eliminate all soil organisms, creating a dead zone.  This surface will also create excessive heat, requiring more water, which is it known only cools the surface for a short period. Surface temperatures on turf can exceed normal temperatures by over 60 degrees. Days in the 80’s and 90’s can bring temperatures into the 120 and 140 degree range.

The field require constant seem seals, and possible patch work. If Parsippany to cut costs did not request “custom made field” turf, the materials installed will contain among other toxins lead. If the alleged installations due to costs cuts does not perform the storm drains correctly in field that are known to harbor lots of ground water, this will also create addition problems, especially if the drains are not maintained and kept clear of litter and other debris.
 
Senator Frank Pallone of New Jersey is presently requesting further investigations by federal agencies into the health risks.   Anyone curious or caring enough to investigate themselves can find information on the subject; I can confidently say that the negative of turf outweighs the positive. Communities falling for the sales pitch of corporations that promote this are subject to all the future problems of health safety and expensive repairs and re-installations that will come every 8-10 years depending on many factors. So say every 10 years according to Parsippanys contractor at least $400,000 in costs plus labor, will be necessary. That is times two being two fields will be transformed artificially. There is also a disposal costs as much of the material is classified special waste.

What we have here is over 2-million dollars of found monies that the BOE will throw at sports at the demise of more possibilities in an education experience for children in Parsippany.

What caused this decision to advance to this point of dominance; the winning by the Parsippany Vikings of the State Championship? Mayor Barberio in 2012 attempted to take monies taxed for Parsippany open space acquisition; calling it the field of dreams. Overwhelming residents said, N0. The mayor, however; boosted he would get it done, and taxes are going to go up. “The bottom line is this is the way to do it“. So one must ask will taxes go up because of the turf?
 
Artificial Turf is not a “creative way”organic grass isThe difference in long term costs is controversial or insignificant. In fact in may very well turn out to be more expensive and less healthy for the environment and the players. 
 
I urge all parents to state their voice in opposition as no due diligence, misleading information and many aspects of the endeavor were not revealed.  The Mayor and apparently the BOE have the same idea about democracy; agree not to agree and do what you want anyway. I cannot help to think some campaign contributions may very well be forthcoming; as the artificial turf industry is on demiseas sure and steady as an educated public becomes more and more aware of the complete history and issues involved with this product. The same corporation that promoted marketing artificial turf; Gradient Corporation also defended arsenic in wood furniture, the smokeless cigarette and BPA in plastic. Buyers beware!
 
Anyone visiting the website of the, US National Library of Medicine or the national Institute of Health can find out for themselves. The BOE certainly did notThis field of dreams is in reality a tax-payers nightmare, with possible lawsuits waiting to happenWhy can’t Parsippany take pride in still playing on a grass field? From the 2012 article: Quote, Viking football vice president. “We wanted to find a creative way to fix these fields. We are past the point of people disputing the need for it”.
The turf is not a creative way; organic lawn care would be. If uncertainly still exist with the health issues, including types of cancers and Congressman Pallone has recently only this past October requested further study on Health Risk of Artificial Turf, well then how can we be past the point of people disputing? It’s a done deal according to the BOE, they claim they have scrutinized all the pros and cons, I believe it was more of a business arrangement between similar grounded interest, not in the best interest of the health of the children.
 
One additional question must be asked as to what took place in 2012 in the “field of dreams” attempt by the mayor to use open space municipal tax funds for the turf fields. We started with a price of over 11 million plus, then it was 7 million plus, now its 2 million plus. So then was this an attempt to take more than was needed from the open space funds? Something says it will be even more than the 2.4 million just for the turf; how will the fencing and lighting be paid?
 
Nick Homyak
Lake Hiawatha, NJ 07034

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