Material for Everett Boys & Girls Club play fields to be tested

EVERETT — The new artificial athletic field at the Everett Boys &Girls Club is one of six nationwide being tested for the safety of crumb-rubber fill — a product that has triggered increasing concern over a possible link to cancer.

The fine-grained fill is used in artificial-turf fields and is made from ground-up tires.

The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, named for the famous Baltimore Orioles manager, helped pay for construction of the artificial-turf field here and at 41 other locations nationally. It will pay for testing the material from the six fields at an estimated cost of $15,000, said Chuck Brady, vice president of the Baltimore-based nonprofit.

The Everett ball field is on the grounds of the Boys &Girls Club at 2316 12th St., near Hawthorne Elementary School. Installation of the artificial turf, paid for by the Ripken foundation, Everett Community College and Snohomish County Parks and Recreation, was completed in November.

Other fields to be tested are in Baltimore, Bridgeport, Connecticut, Minneapolis, Newport News, Virginia, and Naples, Florida.

The Ripken Foundation’s board decision to conduct the tests comes after national news reports about a possible link between the crumb-rubber fill and cancer, Brady said. “When we heard those reports, we were just as concerned as everybody else,” he said. “We spent a long time this past year doing as much research as we could.”

Among those who have raised questions about crumb rubber are a University of Washington soccer coach, whose concern about artificial turf and a possible link to cancer was reported by news outlets nationally in 2014.

There are numerous health studies of crumb-rubber material that raise “absolutely no concern,” Brady said. But the national publicity “got our attention to say, ‘Hey, we need to check our fields.’?”

Last month, Edmonds parents said they were concerned about crumb rubber in a new artificial-turf field being built at the former Woodway High School. They lobbied the Edmonds School Board to substitute another material. But the school district has decided to proceed with construction of the field with the crumb-rubber fill.

The tests are being conducted by Labosport, based in Montreal, Canada. Results are expected in the next several months. The six fields were chosen for the geographic diversity of locales — including regions of the country with different climates and fields that were installed between three years ago and more recently.

If tests show any potential problem, the group is prepared to replace the crumb rubber at all 42 fields nationwide at an estimated cost of about $50,000 per field, Brady said.

“There’s so many variables that may make one field have some toxic rubber in it and others not,” he said. For example, tires from trucks and cars might have been driven in areas with contaminated soil, Brady said. “It’s kind of complicated.”

Bill Tsoukalas, executive director of the Boys &Girls Club of Snohomish County, said the Ripken foundation called him on Wednesday asking if they would be willing to have the Everett field tested.

“We’re going with the assumption that they’re OK until we get this independent review on whether they are or not,” Tsoukalas said. “If they are not, they’ve assured us they’ll take corrective actions.”

The Boys &Girls Club’s new artificial turf replaced an aging grass-and-dirt field. Cost of the new field, including seating, dugouts, bullpens and landscaping, cost nearly $1 million, Tsoukalas said.

Everett Community College’s women’s softball team began practice on the field in January, he said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Lake Stevens resident Rick Trout shows a Feb. 2020 photo of the rising lake level in front of his home after a storm. (Isabella Breda / The Herald)
Some Lake Stevens homeowners now must buy flood insurance

Updated FEMA maps show some lakeside homes now sit in a designated flood hazard area, due to a warming climate.

Preston "Buddy" Dwoskin served as the head referee at the inaugural Buddy Bowl football game two years ago at Everett Memorial Stadium. (Contributed photo) 20211203
Anti-bullying ‘Buddy Bowl’ game set for Saturday in Marysville

Preston Dwoskin, a public speaker with special needs, organized the football festivities. He would like you to be there.

Everett Community College's Dennis Skarr sits in front of a 15-foot interactive wall that can replicate a manufacturing company's assembly line, hardware, software and networks on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021 in Everett, Washington. A class taught by Skarr focuses on cyber threats against manufacturers, pipelines, water treatment systems and electrical grids.(Andy Bronson / The Herald)
At EvCC, ‘The Wall’ teaches students how to thwart cyber crime

The Everett college is first in the nation to have a tool that can model cyber attacks aimed at vital infrastructure.

Girl, 1, dies from gunshot wound near Granite Falls

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office deputies were investigating the weapons assault report Saturday night.

Voyager Middle School.
Shooting threat at Mukilteo schools was a joke, student says

Four threats of violence in 48 hours were reported at Snohomish County schools in the wake of a shooting at a Michigan high school.

Man dies in 140-foot fall from Arlington cellphone tower

The man, in his 30s, fell about just after 1:30 p.m. Saturday while working.

Prosecuting attorney, Taryn Jones gives the state's opening statement to start the trial of Ryan Leenders for first-degree murder Friday morning at the Snohomish County Superior Courthouse on December 3, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Trial opens for Everett man charged with killing party guest

A defense attorney claimed Ryan Leenders mistook a vape pen for a gun when he shot William Harper, who was not armed.

‘Prolonged neglect’: Darrington woman charged with starving horses

After a months-long investigation, the woman is accused of neglecting her animals.

State officials confirm first 3 cases of omicron variant

The cases were found in Thurston, Pierce and King counties, according to the state Department of Health.

Most Read