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Opinion: Artificial turf doesn’t belong in our parks

Jun 06, 2023

Re "Padres are planning a $20M makeover of Petco Park's Gallagher Square" (May 28):The plan by the Padres to roll out plastic grass for kids that likely contains toxic, per- and polyfluoroalkyl flame retardants, neurotoxic phthalates and more is not conducive to a family-friendly park.

These chemicals are documented to leach into air, soil and water. Plastic grass carpets are also known to off gas methane and ethylene, contributing to climate change.

Readily reaching 160-plus degrees Fahrenheit, they create heat islands and increase liability for thermal burns. "Less water" is a mantra of the industry and has been disproven. Drought- and desert-tolerant varieties of cooling natural grass that sequester carbon, filter water and produce oxygen is what is called for.

Bills are rapidly passing through the state Legislature that address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and heat on these surfaces. The California Department of Toxic Substance Control will soon open comments on the substances. It's time to turn off the tap on plastic toxic turf.

Dianne Woelke


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