On May 30, 2023, Hallack Contracting was about twelve days into the process of having about 20 inches of topsoil excavated from the area between the Oriole Field oval track, what is commonly called Oriole Field, where Ludington schools normally hold their football and soccer games.  At that point the soil had been removed, concrete was put up along the inside of the track in most places, and some trenches around the perimeter were being prepped.  The picture below, taken this weekend shows some of the advances made since with tarps and gravel layers placed over flattened subsoil.  

Also on May 30, 2023, Astroturf Great Lakes, newly added to the Astroturf franchise in September 2022, finally supplied the school's contractor (Christman Company) with material safety data sheets (MSDS) for the materials that are going into that 20-inch-deep pit that future generations of our children will be playing on.  

As you can see, Astroturf did not give these to Christman on request, it's more of an FYI.  This means that neither Christman or their boss, the Ludington Area School District (LASD), requested these MSDS out of any concern about the children that will be exposed to the four components.  Hardly, surprising, as I requested MSDS's earlier this year (after the Astroturf contract was approved) for the fake turf and the district had none available.  

To his credit, Superintendent Kyle Corlett, sent me these transmission forms and MSDS (seen here) last week after Christman shared them with the district.  It seems rather crazy that these would only be made available after it is basically too late to consider the ramifications of exposing our children and environment to the hazards contained therein, but I am sure it's good for the artificial turf businesses that sneak these into communities like they did here in Ludington.

These MSDSs reveal more dangers than I ever imagined when we were informed that the school board was going to spend 50% more than what they budgeted in the bond proposal for this boondoggle.  I had presumed that crumb rubber (aka recycled tires) would be the carcinogen cocktail that would represent the major hazard within, but surprisingly, another main component of the infill turned out to bring its own set of health problems.  Let's review.

The first half of the MSDS packet deals with the carpeting itself, where there is very little problems noted, as one might expect.  On page 35 we see that the Mapei Seam Adhesive appears to have some issues, with some materials causing cancer if inhaled, swallowed, or with extended contact with the skin, not to mention some harm to aquatic life:

This is further explained deeper into the MSDS:

So four components have acute toxicity to people, and if this product gets into the water system, small amounts can affect aquatic life.  This product, used to keep the edges of the carpeting down, is much like similar adhesives one would use in their home to do the same.  We may dismiss it because of that similarity; however, one should realize this toxic glue is exposed to the elements every day, be it freezing temperatures in the winter, rainy springs and autumns, and the heat of summer and then to the rough trampling of athletes.  

Seams come loose, direct exposures of all types to degraded adhesive happens when student athletes land on or near the seams, and open cuts are more likely to happen when the rug's seam is not secured.  Kids are more susceptible to these exposures and loose seams will develop over time leading to more applications of the adhesive.  

The next hazardous material, to be found in the infill pit, is crystalline silica, given the innocuous title of sand in the transmittal sheet.  Playing in sand sounds like a day at the beach, but this is a very fine sand that often becomes airborne when the turf is stepped on and can easily be ingested or breathed in during football or soccer, practice or games.  This leads into some problems as the crystals cause damage inside a child's body.  

"Cancer by inhalation", "causes damage to lungs through prolonged or repeated exposure by inhalation" and Category 1A carcinogen?!  Getting this product in your eyes, nose, and other mucous membranes would be about the same experience as getting ground-up glass in those places, and you can imagine the silica in an open wound would not be helpful.  However, this material is extremely dangerous when inhaled in moderation, even when that exposure happens for only a few months, in a condition known as silicosis:

Soccer goalies practicing diving saves and running backs hitting the ground hard and other acts will upset the infill, those small bodies regularly breathing in this carcinogen that can cause a serious condition in a very short time-- and it may be too late to do anything about it until it manifests itself as silicosis.  Additionally:

Lastly, there is the crumb rubber that I have previously written about and brought up at school board meetings and planning commission meetings as a collage of carcinogens, and studies affirm that position.  Unfortunately, Astroturf gives us an old MSDS from 2015 where it minimalizes the dangers and poisons within these fragments of used tires.  It also dishonestly breaks this component into five of the least dangerous materials:  natural rubber, synthetic rubber, carbon black, zinc oxide, and sulfur.  Here's the big joke they play on us:

The phrase "no data available" may seem like a cop out, because it is, and everything dealing with toxicity and ecology effects have zero data-- except they do admit that one, unnamed, material, when isolated, may possibly be carcinogenic.  This 2019 study indicates that available data is damning, recycled tires/crumb rubber has hundreds of component materials that may be cancerous, and five definite materials on that list. 

When the temperature gets close to 90- degrees, these fake athletic fields heat up to nearly 160 degrees:

This not only can subject children to heat stroke and dehydration during summer practices but can activate some of the dormant chemical properties of these 'data-not-available' materials in crumb rubber, if not the four components of the adhesive.  In such conditions, the child breathes more heavily and may potentially get chemical burns, multiplying the hzardous effects.

In summary, our school and city leaders have foisted this 'improvement' on the parents and children of the school district without any knowledge aforehand of what all was going to be put down on what used to be an organic, all-natural playing field.  The Astroturf contractor destroyed what was Oriole Field before Astroturf gave out MSDSs of what was actually going to go down in that 2 acre space, and revealed three very toxic materials that your child will eventually be exposed to if they spend any time playing on this field.  

Exposure to these hazardous materials can cause cancer, may cause silicosis or similar respiratory ailments, perhaps worse, and Astroturf Great Lakes knows exactly what they were selling to us when they offered their contract.  The saddest part, however, was our school board and staff didn't know or care what was in it before forcing the district's children to play on this poisonous playground, and they bought it, sight unseen, for 50% more than they estimated when they hid the artificial turf in the 2019 bond proposal.  Can anybody explain to the rest of us why these negligent board members aren't being recalled immediately?

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This is worse than OMG. Thank you X for your thorough exposure of the School Board voting to ruin Oriole field and potentially expose children and the environment to the toxicity of crushed tires, toxic glue and super-ground toxic silica instead of grass.  X, you should be voted in as a better-than-superindentant and/or LASD board member. I hope the clique starts listening, thinking, deliberating and reasoning--when their children are sick, maybe they will--a little too late. Shame on LASD and Christman or whomever promoted this toxic pit in the center of Ludington.

Wonderful work on reporting the facts X.  I wonder if the voters would have approved the money for the football field if they had been given this information. Aside from all the potential carcinogenic material in artificial turf the statistic regarding how hot fake turf becomes on warm days is an amazing fact. While the children are being harmed by the chemical soup contained in the turf they may also be cooked like Thanksgiving turkeys at the same time. Instead of being called Oriole Field the school district should rename it the Turkey Bowl.

I went to a couple of committee meetings this morning for the school, the last meeting looked at the MSDS packet I received.  It was concerning because the superintendent looked only at the sheets provided for the carpeting, which says exposure to that part is not hazardous at all, then he conveyed to the board members present that there wasn't anything to be concerned with.  I let him know about the 'good stuff' coming in the latter half of the packet, and I am sending this article to them this afternoon.  

Will it lead to any soul searching?  I highly doubt it, they are basically committed to it now and I don't see anybody with the character to come forth and question this move even if they have a revelation.  

Is there anyone in charge who is even interested in this information?

Good question, Willy! By January 2022 many school districts have considered lawsuits against artificial turf manufacturers.

Did the LASD do ANY research or just blindly vote?

Here's  another considering LEAD exposure.  What a great way to get rid of toxic used tires which expel greater  concentrations of toxins as they age!! 

I will blame this environmental disaster to Ludington on a school board that may already be brain dead by not researching their votes, not doing their jobs.


One signature from these FOREVER CHEMICALS being banned in California!


Thanks for the additional links!  To my knowledge, and what I have seen at the meetings, the school board was all in for the artificial turf.  It's important to them to be the only district in the immediate neighborhood to have such a field, they are enthusiastic about needing less maintenance, and, of course, it keeps them up with the Joneses, a conference rival that recently went toxic.  

As idiot savants, I'm sure they were only exposed to the literature supplied from turf companies, which surprisingly touts every single advantage (and those are overplayed) while failing to supply MSDS for their product and studies showing issues.  These were only supplied after I kicked up a stink.  The expansive EPA study, when completed, will hopefully stop the madness of installing fake fields and lead to the removal of this one in the near future.  One bonus to this fool's errand would be that when the poisons are removed, the new real field can have an improved drainage system.

X, I like your term "idiot savants". That term explains a lot regarding the lack of political brain power that exists in LASD leaders. Thanks for kicking the stink up, even though it not only burns the nose it also let's folks know just how their tax dollars are being wasted.

Willy, 'idiot savant' is not just my term, though I'd like to claim credit, it's actually a term from psychiatry meaning:  someone who has a mental disability but who is very good at doing a particular thing.  Unfortunately, that particular thing isn't adopting policy that makes sense as to the health and safety of our children.  

Today, Father's Day, is a good time to look at what your child will be exposed to when this field is completed, and whether you will accede to let your son or daughter play football or soccer on this field for every practice and half of all games, thereby exposing them to serious hazards and increased rate of injuries.  

At what cost undoing the toxicity to gain better drainage system? Yeah, thanks X for seeing the positive donkey in this manure pit but stupidity IS HARD TO fix. I hope the voting public votes out the stupidity of the LASD. Thanks again for your analyses ... you are the only one in media who seems to care about truth!

Well said FS. I to hope folks take a good look at those running the schools.

As of this posting there have been 235 views of this posting. So,I would say that most citizens of Ludington know nothing about this project. If they did hear about it it would have just been that the school was putting in artificial turf. Not the long term affects on our children and environment. Haven't seen anything in the local paper , was anything ever printed about it? Pro or Con, I doubt anything Con for sure.  I would suggest  holding the school board accountable by a recall or by voting them all out next election .

Alas, it is more difficult to expose our citizens to the truth than it is to expose our children to the hazardous materials lying just underneath the turf.  The 200 or so people that have looked in here, is undoubtedly more people than were knowledgeable about this expense being in the $101 million bond proposal, and you can bet any school board member at a recall or regular election would point out that they were only fulfilling the people's mandate when they voted for that.  And our other local media would likely follow suit, painting those who felt otherwise as anti-democratic, rather than following the science.


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