2) Synthetic Tire Waste Fields
and our Ecosystem
The EPA does not certify products made with recycled tire content. 20 to 60 tons of ground up tire waste per each athletic field is used which contains a multitude of ENVIRONMENTALLY HAZARDOUS MATERIALS.
Due to the heavy metals and other pollutants (cadmium, lead, zinc, arsenic), in tires there is a likelihood for the LEACHING OF TOXINS INTO THE GROUNDWATER when placed in wet soils. Rainwater is not absorbed, it simply picks up particulates such as lead and arsenic as it drains through the field and runs into storm sewers with harmful contaminants.
Synthetic turf exacerbates global warming through the urban heat island (UHI) effect by absorbing sunlight and emitting heat.
Beneath the tire waste and silica a plastic mesh of polyethylene and polypropylene blades is installed to give the appearance of "natural turf" as well as to control the tire crumbs. In approximately 8 years, acres of this non-biogradable material will all need to be thrown away in a hazardous waste dump and replaced with more plastic.
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas" that traps the earth's heat and contributes to global warming. Grass contributes to a healthy environment by converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, and absorbing carbon dioxide. Grass sequesters 1 ton of carbon dioxide per acre per year. To replace natural grass on just one playing field with a carbon neutral synthetic surface, and to make up for the resulting loss of carbon dioxide sequestration, you would have to plant 1,861 trees and allow them to grow for 10 years. One acre of grass produces more oxygen per year than one acre of rainforest. Synthetic fields do not contain the microorganisms that can break down pollutants.
Using recycled tires in playing fields does not keep tire waste out of our landfills, It simply postpones it. First it creates temporary landfills in public spaces. The material will eventually need to be removed, and finally dumped into a government certified hazmat waste site. Along with the synthetic grass, the tire waste will need to be replaced with more tire waste every 8-10 years.
Natural turf offers habitats for insects, plants, and provides food for birds. In San Francisco local parks support important, rare threatened or endangered species and their habitats, (examples include red-tailed hawk nesting sites).