Leslie Billings, a Chicago mom, has been taking an active role in her community about the dangers of carcinogens in soccer fields’ artificial turf. CBS Chicago recently did a story featuring Leslie about parents investigating the safety of using tire materials in their kids' fields. Kids should be playing in safe and healthy environments, and parents shouldn’t have to worry about chemicals in the turf when they drop their kids off at soccer practice. Below is a snippet provided to me by Leslie:

From Leslie Billings, Chicago, IL:

“As a parent of two young children who play soccer, I am concerned about the crumb rubber infill used in artificial turf soccer fields.  Crumb rubber samples have been found to contain a long list of known and suspected human carcinogens, like benzene, which the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says has been linked to Leukemia.  This is concerning.

“Although those that have chosen to install crumb rubber fields continue to tout the material as “100% safe,” the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that “existing studies do not comprehensively evaluate the concerns about health risks from exposure to tire crumb.” I also know that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) no longer endorses crumb rubber as safe to play on and lists a number of precautions that parents should take if they allow their children to play on crumb rubber.  I am also aware of the fact that our Federal Regulatory Agencies are concerned enough about the issue that they are currently investigating crumb rubber safety…but that we are not expected to get answers for some time. So we are supposed to sit back, allow our children to play on crumb rubber, and hope for the best?

“My children love to play soccer and would play on crumb rubber all day if I let them.  But at six and nine years old, they are not tasked with managing their health and safety.  I am.  And I have no intention of gambling with their health.  It’s time for our community leaders to stop gambling with the health and safety of children.  And it’s time for parents to start standing up and demanding something better for their children.  I'm looking forward to attending the next Niles, IL Park District meeting on February 15th from 6-7pm at the Howard Leisure Center in Niles to voice my opinion, and I encourage other local residents to attend as well."  

"Playing sports should be a way to engage children in a fun and healthy exercise.  It shouldn’t have to be a cause for concern because they have to do it on a bed of cancer causing agents.  As for me, I’ll pass.”