NCHR Written Testimony in Support of HB457 for the Maryland House of Delegates Environment and Transportation Committee

NCHR Written Testimony in Support of HB 457 for the Maryland House of Delegates Environment and Transportation Committee

Bill Title: Environment – Synthetic Turf- Chain of Custody

February 16, 2024

I am writing in enthusiastic support of HB457 on behalf of the National Center for Health Research (NCHR), as the president of the Center and as a long-time resident of Maryland’s District 16. The bill would establish a simple chain of custody for synthetic turf. NCHR is a nonprofit think tank the 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 is an important bill to the public health of Maryland residents 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; use; possible reuse; recycling; and disposal, the bill would ensure that individuals, policy makers, and communities could make informed decisions that are essential to the health of adults and children in Maryland.  The National Center for Health Research is not an environmental organization, but we are very knowledgeable about the scientific issues pertaining to synthetic turf and infill and how inappropriate disposal of those products can affect the health of Maryland residents.

We urge the immediate passage of this bill, because the lack of transparency regarding the chain of custody of synthetic turf and infill has made it impossible for families, communities, and government officials to make informed decisions that affect the health of adults and children.  I speak from experience on this matter: synthetic turf became popular locally 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.

As the legislators representing our families, you can improve transparency and help communities, families, and government officials 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 HB457.

Respectfully submitted,

Dr. Diana Zuckerman