Benefits versus drawbacks of installing artificial turf

To the Editor:

There was an apparent groundswell in favor of turning a future cemetery into a playground or playing field, take your pick. Now they want to follow FICA’s lead (the soccer or non-American football governing body) and install artificial turf. Actually, only the women soccer players get to play on the fake grass, men can still play on the real thing. Boys and girls will get to play on it in Amherst, if installed.

Forty of the women international football players have sued FICA and the Canadian Soccer Association for gender discrimination. They also feel that the artificial surfaces they’ve played on require longer post game recovery time (3-4 days vs. a day on real grass) as tendons and ligaments are more sore after playing on the ersatz turf. There’s also the usual thing about the heat retention attributes; it’s 20-30 percent warmer or hotter than actual grass. A surface temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit has been measured. How hot is that? Those who use the touch method of determining what is too hot say that a surface of 130 degrees is too hot to hold your finger on. It’s about what your water heater is supposed to be set in your house. Not a lawn I’d want to lay down on.

I did a web search on "artificial turf injuries." Not scientific I’ll grant you, but there were about equal for and against results on the first page. I must add that the results for artificial turf were from manufacturers of the stuff, teams that had already had it installed instead of grown and FICA. The Synthetic Turf Council (yes there is one), are overwhelmingly for it. Some of the studies against false grass are pretty dry, but enter what I did and see for yourself.

Keep in mind the other benefits of faux turf are that you don’t have to pay people to mow it, repair divots or fertilize it. I suppose you’d just have to vacuum it once a week during the season and maybe hose it down with disinfectant. What’s that compared to a few sore joints?

Russ Brady