Plastic grass, cork and/or coconut infill
The new "organic infill" in the artificial turf marketed by FieldTurf and Geoturf consists of cork and/or coconut.
"Organic," in this context, is a marketing tool. Crumb rubber, the other type of infill, is organic, too. ("Organic" means "contains carbon.")
The pile is what it has always been: plastic.
The Bond would fund twenty-five tons of plastic grass carpet with millions of plastic grass blades, the chemical equivalent of installing 1.3 million one-liter plastic bottles on Meszaros Field.
Artificial turf with cork and/or coconut infill is new. Very few installations exist, and questions about the safety of children breathing cork dust as the cork filler degrades under heavy play have not been addressed.
Is cork worker's lung (suberosis) a potential concern?
Is coconut safe to breathe?
We don't know.
Artificial turf fields are excessively hot. In Riverdale recently, the temperature of a turf field with organic infill was tested by a civil engineer. Its plastic surface was 30 degrees warmer than surrounding air, high enough to subject children to hyperthermia and potential heatstroke.
Rigorous maintenance required by manufacturers
Unlike natural grass, artificial turf must be continuously "fluffed" via brushing, aerating, and raking.
Any lapse in the extensive and exacting maintenance regime required by manufacturers (FieldTurf's requirements run to 28 pages in all) results in uneven surfaces.
Uneven surfaces lead to injury.
Mold, algae, bacteria
Artificial turf requires regular treatment to kill mold, algae, and bacteria, which arise from standing water, body fluids, and animal droppings. If maintenance is neglected or deferred -- as it has been for our grass fields over the past 15 years -- children will be increasingly vulnerable to serious infections such as MRSA.