Re: “Are synthetic turf fields making young athletes sick?” (TNT, 8/14).
As a toxicologist with nearly two decades of experience in human health risk assessment, I believe there is no scientific reason to make a link between chemicals found in recycled rubber infill in synthetic turf fields and any health issues.
The scientific community has looked at this issue many times. There is a substantial body of research — more than 90 peer-reviewed studies, reports and evaluations from academics, state health departments and third parties — that does not find any link between this material and adverse health effects. The few contrary studies cited in some media stories generally do not take into account actual exposure to these chemicals, and simply rely on the presence of these chemicals as a reason for alarm.
Many common products we interact with as part of everyday life contain low levels of chemicals that do not pose a threat, but could if they existed at significantly higher levels. However, presence alone does not necessarily equal danger.
Children’s safety should be placed above all else, but unsubstantiated fears shouldn’t undermine science.
(Peterson is a board-certified toxicologist and a scientific adviser to the Recycled Rubber Council.)