Guest Blog by Jack Withington

Some battles are fought in the air, others are fought at sea, and then there are battles fought on the gridiron. There is a non-military battle being waged by a group of concerned citizens who are trying to convince the Petaluma City Schools and members of the local Board of Education to use safe material on the new artificial turf athletic field being installed at Casa Grande High School. Plans call for the use of recycled ground up rubber tires, called “crumb rubber,” as infill between the blades of artificial grass. But a lot of people have raised questions about the health risks of playing on fields covered with crumb rubber.

Although widely used on many athletic fields across the nation, studies have shown that crumb rubber may not be as safe as once thought. Locally, the West County School District listened to concerned parents and health professionals and switched to a safer product at Analy and El Molino High Schools.

Some cities have elected to scrap crumb rubber turf in favor of an alternative infill. The New York City Parks Department stopped installing recycled rubber turf in 2008, followed the next year by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Makes one wonder what they know?