Legislators Plan To Reintroduce Artificial Turf Requirement For Prince George’s Schools

A December 23 Daily Record article reported that Prince George’s County legislators plan to reintroduce legislation requiring the County’s high schools to convert their athletic fields to artificial turf by 2020. The previous version of the legislation, HB 1013 of 2014, was heard by the House Appropriations Committee but the Committee took no action.  From the article:

Delegate Jay Walker and Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters, both representing Prince George’s, want to upgrade athletic facilities at every county high school.  …

The bill would require 21 Prince George’s high school athletic fields to be upgraded to artificial turf by 2020.  …

“Our neighbors have turf fields and we don’t,” Peters said. “We need to get competitive.”

The article noted that while many Maryland school systems use artificial turf (some are 100% artificial), some citizen groups support natural grass and allege artificial turf fields that use crumb rubber pose health risks.

The biggest issue [opponents] have with artificial turf fields is the use of crumb rubber — tiny rubber granules made of shredded tires. Crumb rubber comes from recycled tires and acts as an infill on artificial turf fields.  …

In order to understand how crumb rubber fields affect people, someone needs to collect data on players’ health, urged natural grass proponent Gail Condrey, of Kensington.

“Nobody’s tracking that at an ongoing level and nobody is measuring the effect of this toxic brew on our kids,” she said.

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