Testimony of Dr. Diana Zuckerman before the House of Delegates Environment & Transportation Committee For HB 299

February 15, 2023

Thank you for the opportunity to speak today in support of HB 299. I am Dr. Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Health Research, a nonprofit think tank incorporated in Maryland.  I am speaking on behalf of our research center and as a long-time resident of Maryland.

My perspective is as a scientist trained in epidemiology and public health, and the former chair of the Women’s Health Promotion Council for the State of Maryland.  Our research center conducts, scrutinizes, and explains research with important public health implications for adults and children. We are nationally respected as a source of unbiased information and do not accept funding from entities with a financial interest in our work.

This bill is important because it would require transparency regarding synthetic turf and turf infill.  By enabling the public to be informed about the chain of custody from the time of installation through disposal, the bill would ensure that individuals, policy makers, and communities would could make informed decisions that are essential to the health of adults and children in Maryland.

We urge the immediate passage of this bill, because the current lack of transparency has made it impossible to make informed decisions.  I speak from experience on this: synthetic turf became popular while my children were playing soccer while growing up in Maryland, and like most parents I was unaware of the environmental or health issues involved.  As I became knowledgeable, I was shocked by the widespread misinformation regarding the disposal of these materials.

Please improve transparency and help Maryland communities determine how synthetic turf and infill are being used and what happens to those products when they are removed.  We strongly urge your favorable report on HB299.