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Vancouver Park Board making switch in artificial turf fields due to concerns from parents

Last Updated May 9, 2016 at 11:10 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

Park Board says no concerns from a health perspective, but it is sensitive to concerns from public about artificial turf

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There are no health concerns. That’s the message from the Vancouver Park Board, which will soon begin using a new product when it starts replacing existing artificial turf fields.

The fields — which currently use a recycled, crumbled rubber product — will now have a new composite material as an infill.

There have been concerns from some parents about possible links to cancer-causing agents in the existing rubber pellets.

“Although we have information back from Vancouver Coastal Health that doesn’t indicate any concerns from a health perspective with crumb rubber at this time, there has been some concerns in the public about it and we’re very sensitive to that. And we thought this was a good opportunity to try a new product,” says Board chair Sarah Kirby-Yung.

She says the new composite product will be installed on all new fields and the replacement of existing ones.

“This is a product that I think is going to supply a superior play experience for players who are on the field and also should provide some comfort for the parents and the families that have their kids playing on those fields.”

The product itself is called thermoplastic elastomer (TPE).

“It’s an infill product. It is man-made, but it’s first-use raw materials. So, it is fully recyclable and can be re-processed at the end of its lifecycle. It does not contain any cancer-causing PAHs [Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons] or heavy metals,” says Kirby-Yung

Because it’s¬†getting new surfaces already, Kerrisdale Park will be the first to get the product. The new infill will then be installed on all future turf replacements.

The board’s fields typically have a 10-year lifespan.