Council Passes Melissa’s Playground and Athletic Field Safety Legislation

Today, the City Council passed legislation introduced by Melissa that would create an advisory committee to examine any new surface materials put into our parks.

Artificial turf is known to retain high levels of heat which can cause severe burns, and in some cases, has been found to contain toxic substances.  At Thomas Jefferson Field in East Harlem, tests revealed a high presence of lead on the fields, posing a serious danger to local residents who are seeking out opportunities for recreation.

Going forward, whenever the Parks Department introduces new surface materials in our athletic fields and playgrounds, an advisory committee will evaluate those materials for health, safety and environmental risks, and provide the Department with a recommendation.

The bill is expected to be signed into law in the coming weeks.

“Ever since Thomas Jefferson Field in my district was found to contain high levels of lead, I have been very concerned about the potential dangers posed by the use of synthetic turf on our athletic fields,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito.  “At the same time, I do recognize that many New Yorkers value synthetic turf, since it creates more opportunities for recreation in our parks.  This legislation will help ensure that the Parks Department is looking at issues of health, safety and environmental impacts when considering the introduction of a new surface material on our fields and playgrounds.”

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