LGUSD district management staff awfully quick to buy into artificial turf sales pitch of consultant hired to defend industry...

Image from student Ryan Basso's "The Balance of Opinion"

LGUSD district management staff continue to insist artificial turf is safe despite assertions from experts and government agencies that it is premature to conclude artificial turf is safe.

LGUSD's conclusion of safety is based, seemingly entirely, on the word of the sole consultant they hired explicitly to provide safety reassurances, David Teter.  

Why are district management staff:

  • neglecting to seek out and consider the input of at least one of the experts that finds it premature to conclude artificial turf is safe?
  • failing to acknowledge concerns that clearly continue to be held by government agencies? 
  • failing to acknowledge the narrow context of Teter's product analysis?
  • so willing to adopt Teter's advice knowing that not only was he hired by the artificial turf industry to get one of our state agencies to dismiss its concerns, he actually failed to do so?

LGUSD's consultant, David Teter, cannot be considered independent of the industry.  He was hired by a synthetic turf industry organization to keep artificial turf from being investigated by California's Department of Toxic Substances Control, a body that may then require manufacturers to label the toxic chemicals in their products.  The Synthetic Turf Council website explains, "Our industry is targeted for additional regulation, negative press, and need for industry defense $$$. Through the fund we were able to hire David Teter to sample turf products and he is drafting comments to request that we are removed from the work plan... All of this means that we need widespread industry participation in order to defeat these bills/regulations on our industry." 

Casting doubt on the assertions of safety Teter gave LGUSD, it's important to acknowledge that Teter FAILED to get the California Department of Toxic Substances Control to remove artificial turf from the short list of products that they're now prioritizing and proceeding to study.  

Teter was also hired by the town of Sharon, Massachusetts.  Unlike LGUSD's leadership, the town of Sharon's leadership was open-minded and balanced enough to also seek out and consider the input of experts that opposed artificial turf.

Here is one of those experts, independent biomedical researcher, Dr. Debbie Tatro, on 4/28/21, explaining why the limited testing performed for that town by Teter is inadequate for concluding safety.  In addition, Dr. Tatro  emphasizes that Teter's opinion (that high fluorine levels of 430 ppm detected in artificial turf grass blades came from a PFAS that is inert and non-toxic) is outdated and directly contradicts the current opinions of environmental scientists.

For LGUSD to rescind its conclusion that artificial turf is safe, LGUSD does not have to conclude artificial turf is unsafe.  As government bodies, other experts, and other community leaders have already done, LGUSD simply has to agree it is premature to conclude artificial turf is safe.

Posted with her permission, here is a parent letter to the LGUSD school board (that includes some minor additions she has since made to counter points brought up at the LGUSD School Board's 11/18/21 General Meeting and some reformatting for ease of reading).   Her letter raises some of the points alluded to above.