When Faking Nature Causes New Problems

I read Matt’s post, and it reminded me of an article I’d read about artificial turf. Recently, several studies have begun to question if artificial turf, just like the frass at menlo, is carcinogenic.  At least eight soccer players at Tacoma High School in Washington, and at other nearby schools, have been diagnosed with cancer. Many argue that the artificial turf is to blame.

The little rubber pieces that cushion the turf, which annoy all of us when we find small piles of them in our shoes, socks, and cleats, contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Many of these chemicals have been found to be mutagenic or carcinogenic, and it is easy for the pellets to enter a player’s digestive system during play. While no study has conclusively stated that artificial turf can cause cancer, it has captured the worries of many players and parents alike.

Just like Matt with his plastic bottles, I never have considered that the frass may be causing me harm. I found it interesting that in trying to tame nature by faking it, we may be doing ourselves more harm than good. Maybe it’d be smarter just to have real grass, in all its muddy glory.


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