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Friday, September 28, 2007

Health District Rejects “Demand” to Limit or Close Turf Fields

The director of the Westport Weston Health District has rejected a “demand” by two Westport residents that play on Westport’s synthetic turf fields be limited or eliminated while tests for health risks are conducted on the fields’ rubber infill.

“In the absence of data about the fields, and given the widespread use of this type of turf worldwide without an issue, it would be presumptuous of us to limit their use based on the very limited data available to us,” wrote Susan Jacozzi in a letter dated Tuesday and made public today.

She was responding to a Sept. 14 letter from Westport residents Patricia Taylor and Stacy Prince in which they said they were lodging a “formal complaint” about four fields on Westport town property.

The women cited a May study issued by New Haven-based Environment and Human Health Inc. and subsequent comments by David Brown, a Westporter who serves as the group’s public health toxicologist, that children should be kept off the fields as a precautionary measure.

The women asked for an investigation by the District and said, “While you are conducting your investigation, we demand that you limit this potential risk due to crumb rubber infill by limiting or eliminating play on Westport’s synthetic turf fields as a precautionary measure.”

Jacozzi said she was relying on guidance on the matter from the state’s Department of Public Health, which, she said, “has not seen any information that would lead to the recommendation against installing such fields…”

The health official said she strongly agreed with Attorney General Richard Blumenthal that additional testing is needed, but added: “testing conducted on the fields and not in a laboratory.”

“Until that study, or some other examining the playing fields themselves, we see no reason to change the present usage of the synthetic turf fields,” Jacozzi said.

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Posted 09/28/07 at 02:09 AM  Permalink



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