Officials call on funding for study on safety of artificial turf

Officials looking to conduct study on safety of artificial turf. (WFSB file photo)

HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Cities and towns across the state use artificial turf fields and now one state lawmaker wants to ban them.

There has been much controversy over these fields on whether they can cause health problems.

There are some who want to ban these fields, especially those made with rubber from tires.

But others say there are no studies that back up claims they are health hazards.

The controversy over artificial turf is heating up across the state.

Ellington voters rejected plans for an artificial turf last year because they were concerned about the cost and health effects.

"I think a lot of people are concerned with this issue about plastic with the environment,” said Representative David Michel.

State Representative David Michel, a newly elected Democrat, wants to ban artificial fields.

He says lawmakers should know more about chemicals from pieces of recycled tires being used.

"All the chemicals that go into crumb rubber fields are toxic,” Michel said.

His bill sparked quite a debate as members on the Environmental Committee heard from both sides.

Supporters of the fields say they may be costly, but they last longer and are cheaper to maintain.

Unlike natural grass fields, which can flood and are expensive to maintain, turf fields can be used a lot more

"There is evidence that grass fields have a higher rate of injury,” said Fred Balsamo.

Fred Balsamo, from the CT Association of Athletic Directors supports artificial fields and says there is no proof these fields are harmful.

"I am all about kids. I have grandchildren, a lot of children using these fields and the last thing we want to do is put them at risk,” said Balsamo.

If there was a ban, the bill doesn't require current fields to be replaced.

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