Environmental advocacy organization Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has issued retraction demands about the safety of synthetic turf to two federal agencies under the Data Quality Act, which requires the information they distribute to be complete, objective and reliable. A complaint filed with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) contends that the agency tested for lead only, considered ingestion and not inhalation or dermal absorption, examined newer fields “despite the fact that the fields release more lead as they age,” and conducted too small a study in concluding that “young children are not at risk from exposure to lead in these fields.” PEER filed a similar complaint with the Environmental Protection Agency.

The organization claims that the agencies’ “blanket safety assurances” to parents, athletes and schools were made on the basis of unreliable data sources. According to PEER, synthetic turf is manufactured with tire crumb, which purportedly contains 1,3-butadiene, benzene, phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, manganese, carbon black, carbon black nanoparticles, latex, and zinc. PEER calls for the agencies to remove materials from their Websites stating that the turf is “OK to install, OK to play on”; disseminate warnings; and commission independent research on a large sample of older and newer fields, indoor and outdoor fields, different exposure pathways, and different contaminants. See PEER News Release, March 21, 2013.