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Principal Investigator: Harari, Homero
Institute Receiving Award Icahn School Of Medicine At Mount Sinai
Location New York, NY
Grant Number R01ES034779
Funding Organization National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Award Funding Period 02 May 2023 to 29 Feb 2028
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Project Summary Artificial turf fields and playgrounds have become common playing surfaces. It is estimated that there are over 13,00 fields, and up to 1,500 new artificial fields are installed each year. Most of these fields and playgrounds utilize infill generated from recycled tire crumb. Communities have consistently reported chemical smells in fields, playgrounds, and surrounding areas. Despite the widespread usage of artificial turf fields and playgrounds, uncertainty remains about safety and the potential for exposure to toxic chemicals, heat exposure, impacts resulting in injury, and environmental impacts in the community. Many studies have identified the presence of toxic chemicals, known to be neurotoxic and carcinogenic in tire crumb infill. Parents and communities are concerned because young children and athletes could be exposed and could potentially experience health effects in the future from playing on these surfaces. Laboratories have identified toxic chemicals in tire crumb, but results of exposure assessment information generated under realistic playing conditions in children and adults are very limited. Exposure assessment studies are underway at a state and federal level. Despite that, an increasing number of communities are opting to use alternative infills made from plastics, virgin rubber, silica sand, cork, and waste shoe materials. However, as with tire crumb infill, safety information is also lacking. As such, communities in general struggle to make informed decisions about safe playing surfaces. The proposed community-engaged project will employ a citizen science approach to collect samples from alternative infill fields, identify chemicals in alternative infills materials, and characterize exposure in such fields under real-life conditions. This project is well-positioned to achieve our goal to address concerns from the community and inform policymakers in their communities to incorporate environmental health research into consideration during the decision making for the procurement, installation, use, and disposal of playing surfaces. This project embraces the involvement of community member participation in the project’s research activities. Active community involvement will allow community members to gain first-hand knowledge of the chemicals in their fields and heat during playing conditions. Most importantly, it will enable them to assist other communities regarding better practices and effective policies to protect concerned communities.
Science Code(s)/Area of Science(s) Primary: 94 - Communication Research/Environmental Health Literacy
Secondary: 03 - Carcinogenesis/Cell Transformation
Publications No publications associated with this grant
Program Officer Lindsey Martin
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