Boston took a significant step forward in protecting our kids health and our drinking water when Mayor Michelle Wu ordered that no new artificial turf to be installed in city parks.
Wu told the Guardian, “The city has a preference for grass playing surfaces wherever possible and will not be installing playing surfaces with PFAS chemicals moving forward.”
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, better known as PFAS, are a class of chemicals used to make products grease- or waterproof. PFAS are used in manufacturing a wide variety of products including artificial turf but research has linked PFAS exposure in humans to cancer, immune system deficiencies, high cholesterol, low fertility and even developmental issues in children and infants.
PFAS have been nicknamed “forever chemicals,” because they are persistent, bio-accumulative chemicals that never fully break down in the environment. As we keep making, using and discarding products with PFAS, these chemicals keep building up, in the environment, our water and our bodies.
This health risk is far from theoretical. As a result of the pervasive use of PFAS, these chemicals have already contaminated the drinking water of millions of Americans including hundreds of thousands in Massachusetts. In fact, 159 public water systems in 81 Massachusetts cities and towns—from the Berkshires to the Cape—have tested above the Maximum Containment Level (MCL) of PFAS in their drinking water.
Boston joins a growing number of communities banning or restricting the use of artificial turf on their playing fields.