Natural Choice - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2044759

Natural Choice

I was glad to read about the new field for the Bridgehampton Child Care & Recreation Center [“Bridgehampton Child Care Center Field Upgrade Will Be a Sustainable Effort, and Part of a Larger Community Collaboration,”, October 5]. A remarkable volunteer effort has started renovating the center’s playing field using natural grass. That’s better for the environment, pets and people.

I’m happy that the staff and volunteers are setting an example of coming together to benefit the community. The project will also engage younger generations in toxin-free land use. I’m encouraged that the center resisted the intense marketing efforts of artificial turf manufacturers and opted for a natural grass alternative.

In fact, samples of artificial turf have been found to contain PFAs, the so-called “forever chemicals” that the EPA is regulating; PFAs pose a long-term threat when they leach into our drinking water and contaminate our environment. The mayor of Boston recently issued an order banning any new installation of artificial turf in city parks. Environmental health professionals are applauding her efforts, since artificial turf can break down and release microplastics into the environment, as biologist Lindsey Pollard pointed out, “on rainy or stormy days, or when the field is cleared of snow.” Do we ever have rainy, stormy or snowy days on the East End?

Long Island is still in a moderate drought after a long dry spell this summer, and we know that artificial turf playing fields become “heat islands” in hot weather. The U.S. national soccer team only plays on natural grass fields. I’m reassured that the center will not be smothering its playing field in plastic.

If you’re concerned about the safety of children using playing fields, you should know that public health professor and pediatrician Sarah Evans has asked the obvious question: “We already know there are toxic chemicals in the products, so why would we continue to utilize them and have children roll around on them when we have a safe alternative, which is natural grass?”

Kudos to all involved in the BHCCRC playing field renovation.

Nancy Erber

East Hampton