Florida is on the cusp of one of the most important environmental challenges of the 21st century.
On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency will unveil its first regulations on the use of synthetic turf in Florida, but it could be a long time before we see an end to the use and pollution.
“Synthetics” is the industry term for any synthetic material or process that is made to mimic natural vegetation.
The term was originally coined by scientists and the term has become more widespread in the last decade as synthetic turf has gained popularity among the growing number of backyard soccer and baseball players.
“We’re now seeing synthetic turf being used by more and more kids,” says Dr. Jeff Breslow, the lead author of the new EPA regulation, which comes into effect this year.
“There’s a growing awareness among parents of what they’re doing to their kids’ turf.”
In Florida, a recent report by the state’s Office of Environmental Health found that synthetic turf was the leading cause of aquatic pollution, according to a press release.
The EPA found that Florida used about 1.6 million tons of synthetic-grade chemicals to make synthetic turf.
“It’s an issue for kids and for homeowners,” says Scott McQuillan, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit environmental group.
“They’re getting an unhealthy amount of chemicals that are released into the environment that’s a huge problem.”
The Florida Department of Health, which is overseeing the regulations, has a list of the chemicals that the state is required to take into account in determining what is acceptable for indoor use, including pesticides and fungicides.
“The chemicals are very, very small and there are no known human carcinogens, but there are chemicals that have been shown to have a lot of toxicity to aquatic life,” says Chris Lopresti, the director of the state department of health.
“So it’s not only for indoor, but for outdoor use as well.”
The EPA’s announcement will include a list with a list on its website of the chemical compounds that it says should be avoided.
“In Florida, the use is not regulated by the EPA.
That’s why it’s really important that they’re putting this in place,” Lopres says.
“And the best way to ensure that is to make sure the regulations are enforced.”
The rules require that synthetic-treated turf be at least two-feet (60 cm) thick, has been inspected by a third party, and that it has not been exposed to contaminants from the air, water or soil.
If there are any contaminants, they must be removed.
The new regulations also require that a third-party certified third party verify that the synthetic is not contaminated with any of the contaminants identified by the third-parties.
“This will be a huge step in ensuring that the public is able to use synthetic turf,” says Lopreis.
“Not only for recreational purposes, but also to promote environmental stewardship.”
The first regulations also are designed to help homeowners and the environment.
“One of the biggest problems that’s happening in Florida right now is synthetic turf and the water quality issues,” says McQuills, who is also an attorney.
“If you’re not using it, you’re going to be responsible for all of the pollution that comes with it.”
The new rules are aimed at preventing a resurgence of the problem.
The problem is the use, or the use without the proper environmental assessment, according a study published in the journal Science.
A 2008 study published by the National Academies found that 70 percent of Florida homeowners and water districts were using synthetic turf at some point in the past 30 years.
The study also found that some of the synthetic turf that homeowners and others are using could contain pesticides and other chemicals that could harm aquatic life.
The synthetic turf industry is worth $3.3 billion a year in Florida alone, according the Florida Growers Association.
“I think the EPA has done a really good job of focusing on the real issues,” Loper says.
Lopris also says that it is important for homeowners to take the steps necessary to keep their lawns healthy and safe.
“You want to make a good first impression,” he says.
If you’re concerned about the chemicals and the potential for adverse health effects, “don’t use synthetic.”
But in some cases, a growing number are opting to go organic.
“As a matter of fact, I just got back from a farmer in Florida and he’s doing organic,” says Breslow.
“A lot of people in Florida are going to have to rethink how they live their lives,” he adds. “
The regulations also come as the synthetic-“
A lot of people in Florida are going to have to rethink how they live their lives,” he adds.
The regulations also come as the synthetic-