New Playing Fields for Portsmouth –
What is the Safest Choice for the Health of Our Kids and Water Resources?
With well-documented needs for more space for the many school and recreational sports teams that compete for playing time on Portsmouth’s existing fields, it is welcome news that the City is moving ahead to build a new field off of Route 33 at the former “stump dump”. But what kind of field will best protect the health of Portsmouth’s children and its water resources? At a workshop on Thursday, February 15th, from 6 – 7:30 PMat the Portsmouth Public Library, nationally-known experts will present the current science about the health and environmental impacts of crumb rubber playing fields, and the practicality and cost benefits of organically-maintained natural turf fields. This free program is sponsored by Non Toxic Portsmouth, Non Toxic Dover, the Great Bay – Piscataqua Waterkeeper, and Eldredge Lumber.
In May 2017, the Portsmouth City Council approved the administration’s request to obtain bids for developing a synthetic turf field at the Rte. 33 site, but declined to obtain a bid for natural turf. Before the Council makes a decision about field construction, workshop sponsors want the community to learn about emerging studies that outline the troublesome impacts of synthetic turf, particularly the most often-used material called crumb rubber – made from ground-up tires – on the health of both people and water resources. With the field location above an aquifer and less than an estimated 650 feet from the city’s Collins Well, it is important to select a construction approach that will safeguard both our children and our drinking waters supplies.
There is a growing body of evidence that shows crumb-rubber leaches lead, zinc and other metals into groundwater, and that many other chemical compounds, some of which are cancer-causing, are emitted into the air. At the February 15th workshop, Rachel Massey, Senior Associate Director and Policy Program Manager at the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute at the University of Massachusetts Lowell will present the latest information about the potential health and environmental impacts of crumb rubber turf fields.
Also presenting at the workshop will be Chip Osborne, nationally-known consultant for municipalities, universities and businesses that have adopted natural and organic approaches to turf management. Chip has years of experience developing athletic facilities that withstand the kind of intensive use expected at Portsmouth’s new field.
This decision on what kind of athletic field to construct at the Route 33 site will affect the health of our children and the environment for years to come. Please come on February 15 and learn from leading national experts to help Portsmouth make an informed decision!
For information, please call Ted Jankowski at 207-650-6428 or email at [email protected]