Monday, March 21, 2016

Super Stuff

My sister had a friend whose father worked for WHAM-O, the toy company famous for marketing the Hula Hoop and the Super Ball. They were developing a new product and he gave out samples to some of his daughter's friends. That's how we got to try Super Stuff.

It was kind of like Silly Putty, kind of like Play Doh, but actually unlike any of those things. It was, if one can coin the term, "flubberish". You had to mix it up at home and store it in the fridge. It was hot pink, squishy, and it smelled positively vile. I don't know what was in it but I wonder now if it was truly non-toxic. So many of those "cool" toys from my childhood turned out to be suspect in the safety department.


Super Stuff is on my mind this morning as I am looking over the topic of artificial turf fields in our community. I remember when putting them in at the high schools was all the rage, and we seemed to be in a terrible rush to do so. Now I am reading much of the turf in Howard County contains something called "crumb rubber infill", and that we should be very concerned about that.

I am just at the beginning of researching this. I must admit that I don't want to believe that we could have rushed to install something which could pose health risks to our kids. But, I didn't want to believe that the school system would deliberately hide illness-inducing mold problems from parents, either.

And look how that turned out.

There's a bill being introduced in the state legislature (for the third time) which would require "the owner or operator of a facility with a synthetic infill turf field to post a specified sign in a conspicuous location informing individuals using the field of specified health and safety recommendations of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene."

What do you know about this? Do you have any personal experience? Is concern about artificial turf justified, in your opinion?

It doesn't seem that long ago that artificial turf was the cool, new thing. Like Super Stuff. The difference is, Super Stuff didn't last all that long and pretty soon you had to throw it out. Artificial turf hangs around for a long time.*

Is that what we really want?




*And yet, after 8-10 years, it must be completely replaced, and that's really expensive.

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