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May 25th, 2009

More Literature Search, and an Interesting Reply

Claire Dworsky, Water Quality Project Winner

Every couple of days I sit with my mom at the computer and we try to think of different words to search to find as many studies and articles as possible on artificial turf and grass fields. We have found a lot!
But it’s interesting to me that no one has studied this question the way I am, maybe because I am a soccer player. The way I see and use a field is different from the way a lot of grown ups think about fields.

Today I found an article in a U.S. Army newspaper about an artificial turf field in Korea on an American Army base that was closed because it had too much lead, a heavy metal that is dangerous for children and grown ups. I am trying to reach the people at the military base to see if they can tell me more about their field and why it was closed.

I found another expert in Connecticut who has tested some synthetic turf fields and testified in front of a city commission there. He wrote to me that he is going to send me his description of how he designed his study. I thought it was interesting that he captured the runoff water he tested from drain pipes that carry the water off the field. That would be easy! When I take a water sample, I go onto the field, in parts of the field where I have played, and I use a big syringe from Dr. Adina’s lab to suck water up out of the artificial turf before it filters through the many layers it goes through on the way to the drain pipes. This researcher wrote to me that the picture on my Kid Science Challenge blog that showed me with a vial of turf water was too turbid, or murky and full of stuff. He said that showed that the field wasn’t draining properly.

This is what I mean about the way I use a field is different from what adults think and expect. I am taking the same water that splashes on me when I play, or soaks into my socks and cleats, not some water that has filtered through layers of mats and sand and things. I think this is why it’s good to have kids do research, because I see things differently from a grown-up researcher sometimes, I see it as a soccer player who plays on these fields every day.

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