Public Records Request Confirms PFAS in Synthetic Turf

A public records request by Non Toxic Dover and Non Toxic Portsmouth for documentation of the claims made by Portsmouth’s consultants Weston & Sampson in a Feb. 18th work session of the City Council was received last Friday.

One of the slides presented to the Council at the work session stated that “Two vendors indicated they do not use PFAS in manufacturing and provided documentation to back up those claims.”

Screen Shot 2020-03-02 at 8.40.32 AM

However, in reality, this documentation refutes what both consultants and staff have been saying regarding being able to source PFAS free fields, and even what the vendors themselves claim.

PFAS Free Tests

In a memo sent to the City Council yesterday, we informed them that the only “proof” provided by the first vendor, MET, is a sheet of paper containing only a statement asserting that they don’t use PFAS. Weston & Sampson and the city staff and former staff apparently take this on faith and expect us to as well. The second vendor, Sprinturf, supplied reports they commissioned from an independent laboratory, RTI. Their lab results indicate that both the synthetic backing and fibers contain fluorine, proving that PFAS are present, particularly in the fibers. Notably RTI does not discuss this in its test report. These test results confirm the testing reported on in the Boston Globe and the Intercept last October.

Environmental scientist Mindy Messmer, a former Democratic State Representative for New Castle and Rye, made the following comment when we shared with her the test results: “Clearly there are other non-target PFAS in these samples. Just because they are not on the list of analytes doesn’t mean they don’t use a regrettable substitution.”

They are roughly 5,000 different types of PFAS. Testing for total fluorine content is the most reliable way to detect the presence of PFAS. The non-detectable results for the 30 PFAS compounds that were tested for is not proof of being PFAS free. The total fluorine content means that one or more of the other thousands of PFAS chemicals are present in the turf fiber and backing. These test results are the exact opposite of what Weston & Sampson claims.

For more info see the fact sheet by TURI at UMass Lowell on PFAS in artificial turf carpet.

Read the documents:


3/3/20 New testing documents obtained at 3/2/20 City Council Meeting

FieldTurf PFAS DTC

These test results are for 30 analytes (PFAS compounds) – there are roughly 5,000 different PFAS. Testing for only 30 is not proof of absence of PFAS in the samples. In the TURI fact sheet linked above it states, “…lack of detection of one or more specific PFAS does not mean that a material is free of PFAS.” Once again, the synthetic turf industry and consultants fail to prove their assertions that their products are truly PFAS free or that Portsmouth can go to bid for PFAS free turf.

About NonToxicDoverNH

Advocating for safe and healthy public spaces for Dover, New Hampshire residents.
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3 Responses to Public Records Request Confirms PFAS in Synthetic Turf

  1. Pingback: Independent Testing of Artificial Fields for PFAS Needed Now | Non Toxic Dover, New Hampshire

  2. Pingback: Artificial Turf Producers Now Admit Using PFAS | Non Toxic Dover, New Hampshire

  3. Pingback: Multiple PFAS Found in Portsmouth’s “PFAS-free” Synthetic Turf Field | Non Toxic Dover, New Hampshire

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