Rec and Park familiar with turf materials

“Synthetic turf poses potential health risks,” Green Space, March 2

Rec and Park familiar with turf materials

Robin Purchia’s recent Green Space column wrongly accuses the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department of not taking seriously the health of its citizens. This is not the case.

Since 2008, Rec and Park has led the nation in developing stringent standards for procurement of synthetic turf. These standards require end-of-life recycling, restrict the amount of heavy metals and PAHs and require independent testing for all synthetic turf products. These standards were put in place to protect the health of young athletes and to prevent the potential degradation of underlying aquifers.

Extensive product testing and exposure assessments have shown that the health risk from exposure to crumb rubber is equivalent to that from exposure to background levels of metals and PAHs in soil. The decision to use organic infill instead of crumb rubber for the Franklin and Garfield Square field renovations has nothing to do with the assumption that crumb rubber poses a health risk.

Synthetic turf technology has come a long way in the last 10 years, since the fields were installed at Franklin and Garfield Square. The renovation of these fields using recently developed hybrid fiber technology combined with an organic/sand infill will result in a playing surface that comes close to approximating the look and performance of natural grass while allowing significantly more hours of play.

David Teter

San Francisco

“Board to vote on condom distribution in middle schools,” The City, Feb. 23

Access to condoms different than distribution

The Asian-American mother who objects to the availability of condoms to middle school students who request such birth control and disease prevention may not realize that minors have legal rights to obtain birth control and disease prevention devices without parental consent.

California and 21 other states explicitly allow all minors to consent to reproductive services without age restrictions. This legal availability to obtain reproductive services for minors allowed California and other states to reduce their teen birth rate by half over the past 20 years. San Francisco has a low teen birth rate, compared to the high teen birth rate in many Central Valley counties. This low teen birth rate in San Francisco is due, in part, to the many teen clinics provided by San Francisco Department of Public Health that offers free condoms as well as low-cost birth control products.

Asian-American perspectives on sex education may also be responsible for the low teen birth rate of Asian young women in San Francisco and California. Or young Asian women may have chosen effective birth control. Further research into attitudes, beliefs and practices by teens of varied ethnic groups about their use of birth control at different ages is needed.

Parents are not the only people concerned with teen birth control or its lack. The California taxpayer pays for high teen birth rates in taxes. Most teen mothers rely upon public assistance and can not support themselves or their children for many years.

Asian-American parents and community groups can offer after-school classes on Asian family values or find ways of offering their perspectives on birth control for teens. But the law remains that teens have access to reproductive services without parental consent.

And by the way, “access to condoms” is not the same as “distributing condoms.”

Fiona McGregor

San Francisco

“Supervisors allocate $2.4M for body cams for police,” The City, Feb. 25

Body cameras funded instead of Tasers

So now with the Board of Supervisor’s vote of $2.4 million for body cameras we can watch police shoot and kill suspects wielding knives. But there’s no money allocated to let them live or to give police Tasers to use? What kind of logic is that?

Ann Grogan

San Francisco

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