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Synthetic Turf Lead Results

Synthetic Turf Field

The Parks Department provides more than 800 athletic fields around the City for New Yorkers to get exercise and enjoy the outdoors. Of these, 136 athletic fields are composed of synthetic turf material (99 crumb rubber infill, 19 alternative material infill, and 16 carpet-style), which is popular with users and widely used by thousands of professional sports teams, universities, high schools and town, city, and county parks across the country. In addition to the athletic fields, there are 19 play areas (15 crumb rubber infill, 4 carpet-style), which are small spaces, often within playgrounds that are made of synthetic turf surfaces in the city system.


The Health Department found an elevated lead level in the crumb rubber infill material at Thomas Jefferson Park in Manhattan in 2008. The Parks Department replaced this field, which reopened in the spring of 2009, and is continuing to investigate the source of the lead contamination.

Using protocols developed by the Health Department, an accredited lab working for the Parks Department has since tested the remaining synthetic turf installations throughout New York City for lead and has not found a lead hazard at any other fields. All results are posted below.

Lead is commonly found in soil and dust in the urban environment because, in the past, it was used in paint, gasoline and many other products. In New York City, lead paint in homes is the most common cause of childhood lead poisoning. For more information about lead poisoning, visit nyc.gov/health or call 311.


The Parks Department is currently taking the following steps:

  1. Using carpet-style or alternative infill materials on all new fields, rather than crumb rubber infill made from recycled car and truck tires.
  2. Implementing protocols, developed with the Health Department, to inspect, test, and replace any existing synthetic turf fields that may age or deteriorate.
  3. Implementing the recommendations of the Health Department’s Report [PDF Download] including:
    • Posting public signage at all athletic fields and instructing field staff about potential heat-related risks involving synthetic turf, including overheating and dehydration.
    • Adopting more stringent procurement protocols to select the best synthetic turf products that require suppliers to provide information on chemical content, heating absorbency properties, environmental and health and safety factors.
    • Assessing new technologies as they become available.

 

Crumb Rubber Synthetic Turf Athletic Fields and Play Areas
Lead Test Results for Crumb Rubber Infill

Most of the synthetic turf fields in NYC currently use crumb rubber infill made from recycled car and truck tires. A total of 113 crumb rubber athletic fields and play areas, including Thomas Jefferson Park, were tested. Crumb rubber samples were taken from each field and analyzed for total lead content. Aside from Thomas Jefferson Park, the test results for the remaining 112 fields and play areas were below the acceptable EPA lead level for soil (400 parts per million), the best standard available, and no potential lead hazards were found. Lead levels for the 112 fields ranged from ‘not detected’ to 240 ppm and 96% of the results were less than 100 ppm. Thomas Jefferson Park was the only field with an elevated lead level above the EPA standard. The EPA standard applies to bare soil in children’s play areas in residential settings. This level is intended to protect children under six who may ingest lead in soil during play.

Test results are shown in the tables below. Please see the bottom of the data tables for a link to the actual lab report for each field or play area.

Athletic Fields

Name Borough Results (ppm)
Bronx Park East Bronx 88.0
Haffen Park Bronx 54.1
John Mullaly Park (North) Bronx ND
John Mullaly Park (South) Bronx ND
Marble Hill Park Bronx ND
Pelham Bay Park Bronx ND
PS29 Melrose School Bronx ND
Seton Park Ballfield Bronx 69.3
St. Mary's Park Bronx 100
West Bronx Recreation Center (Highbridge) Bronx 57.6
Williamsbridge Oval Bronx ND
Brownsville Brooklyn ND
Bushwick Ballfield Brooklyn ND
Cadman Plaza Brooklyn ND
Coney Island Steeplechase Ballfield Brooklyn 73.1
Dyker Beach Park 1 (LL) Brooklyn ND
Dyker Beach Park 2 (LL) Brooklyn ND
Dyker Beach Park 3 (Soccer) Brooklyn ND
Ft. Hamilton HS Athletic Field Brooklyn ND
Hamilton-Metz Park Brooklyn ND
J.T. McGuire Brooklyn ND
Kaiser Park Brooklyn ND
Linden (Gershwin) Park Brooklyn ND
McCarren Park Brooklyn ND
Mclaughlin Park Brooklyn 40.2
P.O. Reinaldo Salgado Plgd Brooklyn ND
Parade Ground Field 7 Brooklyn 97.1
Parade Ground Field 8 Brooklyn 55.5
Parade Ground Field 9 Brooklyn 154
Parade Ground 10 Brooklyn 20.7
Parade Ground 11 Brooklyn ND
Red Hook Recreation Area Brooklyn 43.4
Shore Road Park Brooklyn 16
Sternberg Park Fields 1 and 2 Brooklyn ND
Van Voorhees Park Brooklyn 19.3
William Grady HS (DOE) Brooklyn 26.2
Al Smith Manhattan ND
Annunciation Park Manhattan 31.4
Baruch Park Manhattan ND
Booker T. Washington Manhattan ND
Buczek Ballfield Manhattan 48.4
Columbus Park Manhattan ND
East River Park Field 1 Manhattan ND
East River Park Field 2 Manhattan ND
East River Park Field 5 Manhattan 16.5
East River Park Field 6 Manhattan 50.1
East River Park Soccer Field Manhattan ND
Eugene McCabe Field Manhattan 48.7
Frederick Douglass Plgd Manhattan ND
Harlem River Park Fields 1 and 2 (128 St.) Manhattan 21.4
J.J. Walker Park Manhattan 240
Jacob Schiff Playground Manhattan ND
Marx Brothers (Playground 96) Manhattan 29.3
Randalls Island 10 (Icahn Stadium) Manhattan 31.3
Randalls Island 70 Manhattan 63.6
Randalls Island 72 Manhattan 14.3
Randalls Island 73 Manhattan 16.6
Randalls Island 74 Manhattan 14.7
Randalls Island 75 Manhattan 65.5
Randalls Island 82 Manhattan 38.4
Randalls Island 83 Manhattan 56.3
Randalls Island 84 Manhattan 89.0
Randalls Island 85 Manhattan 56.0
Randalls Island 90 Manhattan 58.8
Randalls Island 91 Manhattan 30.9
Riverside Park @ 101st Manhattan ND
Riverside Park @ 104th Manhattan ND
Riverside Park @ 107th Manhattan 40.8
Sara D. Roosevelt Park (at Broome and Grand Streets) Manhattan ND
Sara D. Roosevelt Park (at Rivington and Stanton) Manhattan ND
Thomas Jefferson Park* Manhattan 502
Wagner Playground Manhattan ND
Al Oerter (FMCP 8) Queens ND
Al Oerter (FMCP 9) Queens 18.9
Brookville Park Queens 54.8
Flushing Meadows Corona Pk 1 Queens 34.8
Flushing Meadows Corona Pk 2 Queens 22.2
Flushing Meadows Corona Pk 3 Queens 39.0
Flushing Meadows Corona Pk 5 Queens 31.2
Flushing Meadows Corona Pk 7 Queens 26.3
Forest Park (Victory Field) 1 Queens 31.0
Forest Park Fields 01, 4, 5 Queens 111
Hinton Park Fields 1 and 2 Queens 59.5
Idlewild Park 01 Queens ND
Juniper Valley Park (Brennan) 01 Queens 69.3
Kissena Corridor 01 Queens 35.7
Liberty Park (Detective Keith Williams) 01, 1 Queens 15.3
Linden Park (Queens) Queens 48.9
Mafera Park 01, 1, 3 Queens ND
Raymond O'Connor Park 01 Queens 87.7
Reiff Park 1 Queens 26.1
Roy Wilkins Park 01 Queens ND
Southern Fields 01 Queens ND
St. Michaels Fields 01, 1 Queens ND
Blood Root Valley (Greenbelt) Staten Island ND
Bloomingdale Park Staten Island ND
Midland Beach Staten Island ND

Play Areas

Name Borough Results (ppm)
Millbrook Playground Bronx 21.9
PS 42/Little Claremont Park Bronx 27.3
Bushwick Volleyball Brooklyn 37.9
JT McGuire Tball Brooklyn 84.9
Leif Ericson Park Brooklyn ND
PS 150 / Carter G. Woodson Playground (Christopher Ave Lot) Brooklyn 76.3
Raymond Bush / PS 44 / Putnam Playground Brooklyn 23.5
South Oxford Park Brooklyn ND
East River Park (mini-soccer play area) Manhattan ND
Heckscher Playground (Central Park) Manhattan 15.5
Riverside Park South Manhattan 17.2
Queensbridge Park 01 Queens 26.5
Queensbridge Park Courts 1 and 2 Queens 56.2
Rufus King Park 01 Queens ND

Notes

ND = Not detected above laboratory reporting limit (reporting limits range from 1.65 – 16.7 ppm).

Parts per million (ppm) is equivalent to milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg).

*The athletic field at Thomas Jefferson Park has since been replaced.

There are two Linden Parks. One is in Brooklyn and the other is in Queens.

Sample Collection Method: For most of the fields and play areas, a composite sample of crumb rubber was collected from five areas within each field or play area and analyzed for lead. These results are presented here. Individual samples were collected at Pelham Bay Park field, Dyker Beach Soccer field, Parade Ground fields 10 and 11, all Randall’s Island fields, the Thomas Jefferson Park field, Eugene McCabe field, Heckscher Playground, and Juniper Valley (Brennan) field. For these fields, an average of the individual results is presented here.

Lab Analytical Method: All crumb rubber samples were analyzed for lead by an NYS ELAP/NELAP accredited laboratory using EPA Method SW846-3050/6010.

Download Lab Reports for the Above Test Results

The lab reports for each field are contained in the link below. When you open the link, you will see an alphabetical listing of the fields and play areas. Click on the name of the field or play area and it will show the lab report for the lead test results.

Warning: This is a large file and may take several minutes to download depending on your connection speed.

PDF document in alphabetical order [PDF,16.7MB]

Carpet-Style Synthetic Turf Athletic Fields and Play Areas
Lead Test Results

Carpet-style turf is made of carpet-style materials and does not contain crumb rubber infill. A total of 8 carpet-style synthetic turf athletic fields and play areas were tested for total lead in the carpet fibers and lead dust on the carpet surface.

Carpet fibers were taken from each field and play area and analyzed for total lead content. Some older carpet-style fields contain lead pigments in the nylon grass blades. The results of the total lead in carpet fibers ranged from ‘not detected’ to 7,409 mg/kg (milligram per kilogram). Although, there are no standards for lead in turf carpet fibers, harmful lead exposure from these fields is unlikely when the carpet fibers are intact. However, testing for lead dust can show if there is a potential lead hazard. As the carpet-style fields age and weather, lead dust may be released onto the surface of the field.

Dust wipe samples were collected from each field and play area and analyzed for lead. Since there is no standard for lead dust outdoors, dust wipe results were compared with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dust hazard level for homes, which is 40 micrograms per square foot (µg/ft2) for floors (EPA, 2001). The average dust level at each field was below the 40 µg/ft2 EPA standard. Dust wipe results ranged from ‘not detected’ to 41.7 µg/ft2. Of the 40 dust wipe samples, 38 were below the 40 µg/ft2 EPA standard. One of five dust samples from Chelsea Park and one of five from Asphalt Green slightly exceeded the EPA standard. Though these levels slightly exceed the standard, they are unlikely to result in harmful exposures to typical field users. As a point of comparison, studies have shown that lead levels in settled dust on NYC outdoor surfaces can often exceed 40 µg/ft2.

Test results are shown in the tables below. Please see the bottom of the data tables for a link to the actual lab report for each field or play area.

Athletic Fields

Name Borough Carpet Fiber Result (mg/kg) Dust Wipe Result
Average (µg/ft²) Min-Max(µg/ft²)
Macombs Dam Park1 Bronx 5,539 13.3 ND - 16.7
Asphalt Green Manhattan 3,765 31.9 20.9 - 41.2
Chelsea Park Manhattan 4,298 31.9 22.8 - 41.7
Sara D. Roosevelt Park Manhattan 3,865 10.2 ND - 11
Albert Montbellier Park 01, 1, 2 Queens ND ND ND

Play Areas

Name Borough Carpet Fiber Result (mg/kg) Dust Wipe Result
Average (µg/ft²) Min-Max(µg/ft²)
Albemarle Playground Brooklyn 6,591 10.4 ND - 13.3
Brooklyn Bridge Plaza Manhattan 2,539 12.3 10 - 18.6
McNair Park Manhattan 7,409 31.1 16.4 - 36.6

Notes

ND = Not detected above laboratory reporting limit. Reporting limits for carpet fiber analysis range from 14.4 to 16.6 mg/kg. Reporting limits for wipe samples range from 9.7 to 10 µg/ft2.

Milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) is equivalent to parts per million (ppm).

µg/ft2 = micrograms per square foot

1Macombs Dam Park is a temporary field.

Sample Collection Method: For the carpet fibers, a composite sample was collected from five areas within each field and play area and analyzed for lead. These results are presented here. For the dust wipe samples, five individual samples were collected from each field and play area. Dust wipe sampling was conducted in accordance with the procedures for interior surfaces as described in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) “Guidelines for Evaluation and Control of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Housing”. The average and range of the individual results are presented here.

Lab Analytical Method: Samples were analyzed for lead by an NYS ELAP/NELAP accredited laboratory using EPA Method 3050/6010 for carpet fiber and 3050/7420 for wipes.

Download Lab Reports for the Above Test Results

The lab reports for each field are contained in the link below. When you open the link, you will see an alphabetical listing of the fields and play areas. Click on the name of the field or play area and it will show the lab report for the lead test results.

Warning: This is a large file and may take several minutes to download depending on your connection speed.

PDF document in alphabetical order [PDF,2.1MB]

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