Letters to the Editor: 11/24/16


Infernal Leaf Blowers

Dear Editor,

In this beautiful season of tree color and falling leaves ear splitting noise abounds. Why can’t the Village of Sag Harbor for once and all outlaw these obnoxious blowers!

Not only the noise but the fumes are bad for everyone’s health. Mostly, the people who carry the machines on their backs. Are rakes so difficult to wield? From the old days (hundreds of years) rakes were utilized with much success and they probably contributed to the health of the operators.

I would like to propose that the village board take up this question (yet again) and come up with an ordinance to ban those infernal machines. Can there be any cogent argument for keeping them?


Craig Rhodes

Sag Harbor


Think Again on Artificial Turf

Dear Kathryn,

Please thank Karl Grossman for his excellent column in The Express on November 10 on astro turf. I would urge every voter in the Sag Harbor school district to read said column and note the litany of carcinogenic chemicals in an astro turf field that could slowly kill your kids while playing on these fields breathing in the “toxic crumb dust.”

I have read another dozen articles on the pros and cons of astro turf and one theme keeps repeating: both sides agree we need more research into the cancer threats of these materials. Why take a chance on poisoning the kids, the adults on the fields and the neighboring residents? The scientists say the research is incomplete; why are we volunteering to pay for being the laboratory and the guinea pigs? What’s the big rush to spend nearly two million dollars for that “dubious distinction ?” We could have a grass turf field until — and if — we know it is safe to use astro turf.

Let’s think again,

Terry Sullivan

Sag Harbor


Synthetic Turf Has More Problems Than it is Worth

Dear Editor,

If people want to learn more facts about synthetic turf athletic fields, they can go to Grassroots Environmental Education’s website, www.grassrootsinfo.org. Patti Wood, executive director of the organization, spoke at the last Noyac Civic Council meeting and is well-informed on the subject. I voted “yes” on the original vote because we were not well informed about the downside, which may not have been available three years ago. On the website, people can click on Current Issues, and scroll down and click on Synthetic Turf. There’s an overview on the main page and then, under Resources, they can click on “Fact Sheet on Synthetic Turf” and “Ten Things You Should Know About Synthetic Turf.” Ms. Wood’s science-based organization is well-informed not only on issues regarding safety but also on the longevity and problems disposing of this turf when it is worn out.

For starters, if the vote coming up on December 14th passes, 8 to 10 years after the synthetic field is installed it will need to be replaced at a cost of another $500,000 to $1 million. And if at that point the voters decide they would rather have a well-maintained grass field, the retrofit is extremely expensive. The crumb rubber mat, made of discarded truck and car tires full of toxic chemicals, is difficult to dispose of. Also tons of base fill, such as gravel, will need to be removed and replaced with sand and soil.

Regarding safety, after each use, a synthetic field is supposed to be sprayed with disinfectant. Bodily fluids such as sweat and blood do not deteriorate on the synthetic mat the way they do on grass. Scrapes and other injuries to players are more serious and longer lasting. In addition, Ms. Wood said at the Noyac Civic Council meeting that there’s a risk of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics developing. At the meeting she also mentioned that quite a few soccer goalies, who are down on the mat much of the time breathing in dust, have developed leukemia. Is this what we want our youth exposed to? And would you believe that on a summer day with a temperature of 98 degrees F, the temperature of the field can be 200 degrees with or without a “Cool Down” product? Ms. Wood knows of a girl who got a 2nd degree burn on her feet through her sneakers by playing on a synthetic turf field in the summer.

She mentioned that many Long Island school districts are tearing up their synthetic fields and going back to grass. We now have an opportunity to reject this project, thereby avoiding a health danger to our young people and a tremendous expense for a scaled down project. The school board can then go back to the voters to approve the full project at much less cost with a state-of-the-art grass field. The original project and the current design are both on the school district’s website, www.sagharborschools.org. I urge voters to vote “No” on the proposition.

Yours truly,

Janet Grossman