Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Report says "no evidence that Ridgewood synthetic turf field poses a threat to environment, flood plain or children."

For anyone with questions about the benefits/risks of artificial turf in Ridgewood, the following recent press release from REAC (Ridgewood Environmental Advisory Committee) should be helpful (bold or italic sections are my highlights).

11-30-09 Ridgewood, NJ: In November 2009, the Ridgewood Environmental Advisory Committee (R.E.A.C.) released its environmental, health and safety assessment of the synthetic field at Maple Park. The assessment may be accessed at R.E.A.C.’s website by clicking here.

Three years ago, Ridgewood replaced a grass field at Maple Park with a synthetic field manufactured by FieldTurf. Media reports of concerns over synthetic turf fields in NJ received national attention in 2008, prompting REAC to form a sub-committee to conduct a 10-month assessment of whether these concerns affect the residents of Ridgewood. R.E.A.C. focused on identifying the most current and objective information on synthetic turf, in order to provide an unbiased reference resource for the residents of the Village of Ridgewood.

R.E.A.C.’s assessment focused only on concerns, which are applicable in Ridgewood and are specific to the synthetic “infill” turf field design at Maple Park. Much of the information presented in the assessment was derived from actual testing at Maple Park, some of which was previously not available.

The assessment also includes test results and commentary from government sources, including the NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection, NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, NYS Dept. of Health, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Environmental Protection Agency. Other important sources include the American Journal of Sports Medicine, British Journal of Sports Medicine, the Clean Washington Center (CWC), Penn State University Center for Sports Surface Research, Ridgewood Dept. of Parks & Recreation, RHS Athletic Dept. and RHS Director of Health & Wellness. There are extensive video and website links incorporated into the assessment, which may be of interest to Ridgewood residents.

The assessment is intended to be a living document that can be modified as new credible information becomes available. The overall conclusions from the assessment are that there is no evidence that the synthetic field at Maple Park poses a threat to the environment, the flood plain around the park or children, who use the field. In addition, the assessment highlights a number environmental and functional advantages that have been realized locally and beyond Ridgewood, as a result of the field installation. R.E.A.C. notes that it did not consider financial costs or potential savings associated with the field when conducting its assessment, as these were beyond the environmental, heath and safety scope of the assessment.

The R.E.A.C. is an independent volunteer committee, appointed by the Village Council, with experience and/or interest in environmental issues. REAC advises the Village Council on environmental, health and human safety issues in Ridgewood. It also seeks to assist the residents of Ridgewood in addressing environmental concerns by advocating “best practices”, which protect the environment, respect the ecosystem and promote sustainability.

For additional information, please contact John Halenar with R.E.A.C. at johnhalenar@yahoo.com.

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