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Artificial Turf Fields Raise Injury, Health and Environmental Concerns for FUHSD Schools


The usage of artificial turf on athletic fields at schools in the Fremont Union High School District raises concern among parents and students. Community members Carrie Levin, Susan Hinton and Andrea Wald expressed worries to student organizations within FUHSD. While artificial turf has traditionally been viewed as better than natural grass in terms of water conservation and maintenance, a recent abundance of injuries and environmental concerns has prompted debates about reverting back to real grass fields. 

Artificial turf contains PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which are often referred to as “forever chemicals.” According to data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, these chemicals can be extremely harmful as they slowly seep into our bodies over time and may cause liver and prostate cancer. PFAS also contains plastics that are not recyclable, further exacerbating the issue of plastic pollution.

Although it takes around 12,000 gallons of water to cool the surface of a typical grass field, it takes significantly more water to manufacture artificial turf. This undermines the argument that artificial turf is more environmentally sustainable than natural grass. 

The heightened risk of injuries on artificial turf is another significant concern. GMAX scores measure the hardness of field surfaces as an indicator of safety. The Synthetic Turf Council recommends around a score of 165, while a score over 200 is described as “life-threatening” and a “concussion factor.” Over a four-year period, six out of 12 FUHSD turf fields exceeded the highly dangerous 200 GMAX threshold. Homestead High School’s multi-use baseball and soccer field failed for three consecutive years with scores of 217.5, 203 and 213. 

The use of artificial turf has raised concerns not just locally in the FUHSD district but nationally as well. In week one of the National Football League Jets vs. Bills game, star quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a torn Achilles while playing on artificial turf. With a large organization like the NFL facing pressure to switch to real grass for the safety of their players, families in FUHSD are questioning why schools should be any different when prioritizing natural grass fields over artificial turf.

This issue remains unresolved. The Prospector will be monitoring its progression and provide further coverage as it continues to unfold.

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Victoria Hunt
Victoria Hunt, Writer
Victoria Hunt is a perfectionist, pink-lover sophomore who may or may not be Belly Conklin’s doppelganger. She dances competitively in ballet, jazz, and lyrical dancing. Amongst her various school activities and extracurriculars, she spends her free time reading, sewing clothes, making friendship bracelets, and spending quality time with her friends and family. She loves Chinese food, especially soup dumplings, and restaurant basket bread. She also may have a tiny obsession with getting boba from Main Street. In the future, aside from being successful, she’d love to travel to big cities such as Paris and Tokyo. To get to know Victoria a bit more, check out the playlist of her personality, featuring songs like feather, people watching, and Bejeweled.

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