Guest Column

Turf War

Credits: Jason Baker on flickr

Turf has evolved in our community and more and more athletes prefer to play on turf. With the smooth surface, no holes or mud patches, and very clear lining on the field, it is understandable that kids enjoy playing on the turf. However, the rubber black dots on the artificial turf, are causing cancer and diseases in many athletes. Many of them are diving, falling or being pushed down on the turf, thus getting the turf pebbles in their mouth, nose, eyes and open cuts. It has been proven that there are ways to reduce the bacteria on the turf, but the recurring question is, are towns and school taking care and properly cleaning the turf?

Today, over 3.5 million kids receive medical attention from playing sports (Stop injuries).  A handful of these players are getting cancer or become very sick from the bad bacteria that is on the turf. These athletes come in contact with the turf pebbles when they are pushed, and when the pebbles are in their mouth, or in their eyes. Amy Griffin, a former professional soccer player and now a coach at Washington University has created a list within the last couple of years. According to her studies, 220 athletes reported  being treated for cancer. Of the 220, 166 were soccer players, and 102 of them were goalkeepers (Griffin).  Goalkeepers have a higher risk because they are more exposed to turf since they are always diving on the ground making saves.  Griffin’s list was an eye opener to most teams and health offices proving that this is a serious issue.

This issue with the turf, is not only taking a toll on the kids that are battling the sickness, but it also is making the colleges and professional teams change where they play. Alex Morgan, women's soccer player on the US National Team, along with other national players, filed a lawsuit against FIFA claiming gender discrimination. The men's World Cup is always played on grass, and the woman always play on turf (Das). 47% of D-1 schools had natural fields and the rest being turf, but two years ago this changed and 55% of D-1 schools switched back to natural grass (Bagnato). Tennessee was the first college to originally put in a turf field, and has gone back to the natural grass. Nine “big name” schools that still have grass fields are, Iowa State University, Northwestern University, University of Colorado, University of Florida, Michigan State University, Mississippi State University, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Texas A&M University. These colleges said that yes, they have to maintain the grass, and a lot of work goes into it, but they have to do the same with turf, and not properly maintaining the turf may be a reason people are getting sick. Having these 9 colleges switch back to grass, shows that it is beneficial to have a grass field. If the government can find a way to fix the bacteria building up on the turf, then players can still play on them while being safe.

Sign Up for E-News

Maintenance can be a huge factor when considering why kids are getting cancer from the turf. Are schools and towns properly taking care of the turf? Maybe not, and this is something that the government is looking into. According to “Field maintenance is required every day, and it is as simple as dragging a machine across the field” (synlawn). The equipment that should be purchased to maintain this turf and keep bacteria off, are the following: Hydraulic Sweeper, Drag Brush, or the FieldTurf RT Groomer. These “machines” are as simple as a rake that is attached to the back of a cart, but it can make a huge difference in the players safety.  The Drag Brush would be the first part, it is used to level the infield and move the pebbles around so that there aren't pebbles sitting right on top of each other.The Drag Brush simply brushes the extra pebbles off the field. Raking should be done every 4-6 weeks and brushing should be done 6-8 weeks (fieldturf). Next, the Fieldturf RT groomer has a front with and aerating system and the back has a raking part, that grooms the grass blades. Finally, the Hydraulic sweeper is done after all the maintenance is completed, and it is the final sweep. It makes sure nothing is on the field that isn't supposed to be there when the players play. After everything is finished, this turf company recommend spraying the field with plain water. By using these materials listed, there is a chance that towns, schools and anyone one else who owns turf can reduce the bacteria that is sitting on the turf.

A number of players are being diagnosed with cancer and sickness such as MRSA, and are being put in danger when they play on the turf. Diving for the ball, slide tackling, falling, playing with the curb rubber, and getting the rubber in your cut, mouth, or eye is all easy wasy to be exposed to germs. Griffin, the former National Team soccer player, and now a coach at Washington University has done research to prove that there is an issue with the turf. The number of athletes diagnosed with cancer continues to grow as student athletes continue to play on turf fields. Some facilities are eliminating the problem by returning their fields to grass. If a facility is going to keep a turf field, they need to maintain it to an acceptable level so that athletes are safe and healthy.


*Morgan O'Neill is a student at Morristown High School 


Works Cited

Bagnato, Andrew. "More College Fields Going Back To That Natural Look." Tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Chicago Tribune, 27 Sept. 1994. Web. 06 Feb. 2017. <>.

Cook, Bob. "Should Parents Worry Synthetic Turf Fields Will Give Their Children Cancer?" Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 20 Oct. 2014. Web. 06 Feb. 2017. <>.

Ellis, Marie. "Lymphoma / Leukemia / Myeloma Cancer / Oncology Public Health Pediatrics / Children's Health 'Is Artificial Tire Crumb Turf Linked to Cancer?' Government Investigates." Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 15 Feb. 2016. Web. 06 Feb. 2017. <>.

Hart, Peter Andrew. "Worries Mount Over Potential Link Between Artificial Turf And Cancer." Huffington Post. N.p., 14 Apr. 2016. Web. 6 Feb. 2017. <>.

"MRSA: Contagious, Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, Treatments." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2017. <>.

Ozanian, Mike. "Professor Identifies Cancer-Causing Chemicals In Artificial Turf." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 04 Apr. 2016. Web. 06 Feb. 2017. <>.


The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News



AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...

Art Exhibition Opens at Morristown Temple; Meet the Artists Friday June 22

June 20, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ -  Temple B'nai Or is inviting the community to meet the artists of the Summer Art Show. 

Artists Oscar Beck and Carol Johnson will be at the Linda Grandis Blatt Gallery of Temple B'nai Or for an opening reception of their works on Friday June 22. Guests are invited from 5 - 6:30pm. The exhibition runs through August 30.

Beck uses graphite pencil to ...

Love Soccer? Come Watch FC Motown Take on Atlantic City FC; Students and Teachers are Free

MORRISTOWN, NJ - FC Motown is off to a flying start in the NPSL season, posting a conference best record of 5-0-0. Over this stretch, FC Motown has scored 20 goals over the 5 games, while conceding one goal. 

After a strong start to the season, FC Motown continues to get national recognition as the team has climbed up to 1st (out of 98 teams) in the latest NPSL ...

Free Hazardous Waste Event this Saturday in Morris Township

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ - The Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority has scheduled a free Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off event this Saturday, June 9, from 9 a.m. to 2 help Morris County residents properly discard unwanted hazardous household products that have accumulated in their homes.

Saturday’s rain or shine event will be held at the Morris County Public Safety Training ...

Free Rabies Clinic For Dogs and Cats In Morristown June 16

June 15, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - The Town of Morristown is providing dog and cat owners an opportunity to get a free rabies vaccination for your beloved pet. Morristown's Division of Health is holding this free rabies clinic on Saturday June 16, 2018  from 11:00 - 1:00 pm at Town Hall.

Pets who have never been vaccinated before will be given a one year vaccination. All other animals will ...

Free Training for Parents/Caregivers to Keep Kids Safe on Mobile Devices

PARSIPPANY, NJ -  With school ending soon do you know how to keep your kids safe on mobile devices?

NewBridge Services is hosting a free training June 13 at its Parsippany location to teach parents and other caregivers how to to keep children and teenagers safe when they use mobile devices.

The two-hour program on June 13, will start at 4:30 p.m.  The program will address phone ...

Garden State Harley Davidson Cancels Weekend Event Due to Weather

**Please note this event has been cancelled due to the impending weather**

MORRIS PLAINS, NJ -  Garden State Harley-Davidson, is hosting a benefit ride on Saturday, June 2, 2018 for the charitable organization, Mallory’s Army. The fifty mile, scenic, police escorted ride will leave the dealership at approximately 11am and wind its way through Morris County. Upon return to ...

Morris County Historical Tours Begin This Saturday With Discover Morristown's People and Places Walking Tour

June 15, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - The Summer Walking Tour and Lecture Series, hosted by the Morris County Tourism Bureau are set to begin Saturday June 16.

The Discover Morristown’s People and Places Walking Tour  will take place tomorrow, Saturdays: June 16 (as well as July 7) The tour begins at 11am. Visitors are invited to take a leisurely walking tour through Morristown with author ...

Summer Concert Series: River of Dreams Comes to Morris Township's Ginty Field Gazebo

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ - The Township of Morris Department of Parks and Recreation is again hosting free summer concerts at the Ginty Field Gazebo.  On Tuesday, June 19, 2018 the River of Dreams will perform at 7:00 P.M.

River of Dreams is an authentic tribute to the music of Billy Joel, a six piece band from the New York tri- state area. They cover all decades of Billy Joel’s career, ...

Garden Party Fundraiser At Historic Morristown Retreat House Features Live Baroque Music

Loyola Jesuit Center in Morristown will host its seventh annual “Evening in the Loyola Prayer Gardens” event on Thursday, June 14 from 6:30p.m. to 9:00p.m.  Funds raised will help the Center continue its mission of providing one-of-a-kind retreat experiences and spiritually-enriching programs to the community.

Guests will enjoy an outdoor evening of cocktails, a light buffet ...

What's on Tap This Week This Week in Morristown; Morris Township

June 18, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - What is going to be on TAPinto this week?  

Monday (6/18) There is a Planning Board meeting in Morris Township. The meeting begins at 7:30 at the Municipal Building

Tuesday (9/19) There will be a meeting for the Morristown Parking Authority at 14 Maple Avenue at 6pm. A free Blood Pressure Screening in Morris Township at 11am (Municipal Building). The Morris ...

Buy More, Save More at Morristown's Paradise - A Lilly Pulitzer Signature Store

When shopping at Paradise:






*valid on in-stock apparel and footwear, cannot be combined with any other offer or discount

The store is located at 980 Mt. Kemble Avenue/ Route 202 Morristown


Morris Township Pools Will Be Open This Weekend

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, NJ -  Ginty and Streeter Pools in Morris Township will be open this weekend (June 6 & 7)and next (June 9 &10) from 11am - 8pm.

Both pools feature crystal clear waters and beautiful grounds for summer enjoyment. Both pools have undergone recent improvements which include a giant slide, special zero-depth entry family bays, shaded in-pool seating and ...

Danger Sinks Plan to Bring Veteran's Cruise to Roxbury's Landing Channel

June 15, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ – The Lake Hopatcong tour boat Miss Lotta tour boat won’t be cruising into Roxbury’s Landing Channel on June 30 as part of its Third Annual Veteran’s Cruise, said its captain today.

The much-anticipated visit by the big boat to the channel at the southern tip of Lake Hopatcong was scuttled after its captain, Leon Moreau, sailed her into the channel ...

New Jersey Teacher Gets Life-Saving Liver Transplant

June 18, 2018

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ — Maggie Heteji Grabko, a mom of two who worked this year at Westfield’s Lincoln School as a special education preschool teacher, underwent a successful liver transplant on June 13, according to an update on the family’s GoFundMe page by her husband, Shawn Grabko.

The couple lives in North Plainfield with their two children, 12-year-old Ella and ...

Why Buying a Home is Better Than Renting

People often ask if now is a good time to buy a home in New Jersey, but nobody ever asks whether or not it’s a good time to rent. Regardless, Team Nest Builder wants to make certain that everyone understands that now is NOT a good time to rent.

The Census Bureau recently released their 2018 first quarter median rent numbers. This graph from their report shows rent increases from 1988 ...

The End of Jets Mini-Camp

After a week of crystal clear cerulean skies over 1 Jets Drive, the New York Jets just wrapped up their mandatory full squad mini-camp.

New York Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles held press conferences after practices last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Jets fans have lots of questions at this time of year on what to expect from their team this fall. The press questions covered a wide ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)


A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

The Power of Positive Engagement

June 16, 2018

June 15, 2018

To the Editor:

I wanted to share this letter from Laurie Beacham, Media Director for NJ 11th for Change, about the notable increase in voter turnout and citizens deciding to run in the recent primary election:

"The 11th Congressional District has a lot to be proud of. In the June 5th primaries, voter turnout climbed from almost 33,000 in 2014 to over ...

 What Are The Warning Signs of Suicide

June 11, 2018

The recent passings of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain remind us to take mental illness seriously. 

Many of us feel uncomfortable to ask when someone in distress is suicidal for fear we are putting this thought in their minds. This is not true. It is a myth that asking about suicide increases the risk of suicide. The most common mental illness is depression. Some people are ...

How Laughter Can Make You More Productive at Work

Laughter isn’t just good for health and fun; it is good for your productivity and work life as well. 

Laughter can be a great way to "win friends and influence people," as the classic book title says. We spend around one-third of day with our colleagues, so why not try to make the most of it? Some colleagues can become close friends. Others might be more like enemies, but ...

Webber Campaign Statement On de Neufville Bribe Offer

June 2, 2018

Today, the Webber campaign issued the following statement on press reports detailing an offer from Peter de Neufville to other candidates to drop out in exchange for a taxpayer paid job:

"The allegation that Peter de Neufville tried to bribe Antony Ghee is a disturbing one. This is corruption plain and simple, and it is wrong. This should be investigated thoroughly by the appropriate ...

Freeholder Team of Smith, Krickus, and Shaw provide a conservative platform, experience, and accomplishments

We are proud to run on a solid conservative platform and utilize our experience and accomplishments in the service of the residents of Morris County. Our platform includes-

Fiscal Responsibility- We will hold the line on county property taxes, as we achieved three years of zero county tax and reduced debt by over $50 million. 
Focus government on what counts- Preserve our parks and ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, June 21, 9:00 AM

The Wayrick Gallery, Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: NJ Audubon Photography Instructors’ ...

Arts & Entertainment Green


Thu, June 21, 6:30 PM

Seasons Morristown , Morristown

Olive oil & Storytelling

Arts & Entertainment

Running from the Scene Lands Man in Jail; This and More in this Week's Police Blotter

June 19, 2018

6/11: ARREST FOR WARRANTS: Officers executed a motor-vehicle stop for an equipment violation at Jonathan's Woods in Rockaway Township. An investigation revealed the driver, Jaclyn A. Callan, age 35, of Manalapan, to have two warrants for failure to appear in Manalapan Municipal Court. She was transferred to the custody of the Manalapan Police Department.

6/12: ARREST FOR WARRANT: Officers ...


June 13, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ, June 6, 2018 -- Preschool Advantage has announced funding of preschool tuitions for 85 children at 24 partner preschools for the 2018-2019 academic year.  The selected children hail from 36 different communties in Northern New Jersey.  These families would not be able to afford preschool for their children without the support provided by Preschool Advantage and the ...