Switch to synthetic turf on Rockwood fields sparks health concer - KMOV.com

Switch to synthetic turf on Rockwood fields sparks health concerns

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All four of the high schools in the Rockwood School District have begun the process of converting football fields from natural grass to synthetic turf. All four of the high schools in the Rockwood School District have begun the process of converting football fields from natural grass to synthetic turf.
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) - All four of the high schools in the Rockwood School District have begun the process of converting football fields from natural grass to synthetic turf, but despite voter approval, not everyone is on board with the project.

At least one district resident has voiced concerns over the safety of Corkonut, the synthetic material being used to create the new fields.

Corkonut, which is made from coconut shell fiber and Italian cork, is considered a safer alternative to crumb rubber, which is commonly used on synthetic fields.

"It's much more of a natural product and natural feel, it's very impressive," said Superintendent Dr. Eric Knost. "It doesn't come with those same concerns [as crumb rubber]."

At the district's last board meeting, however, a resident said there are no studies to prove the safety of the fields and that there are dangers to inhaling cork dust.

"This is an insignificant amount of cork that will be in the product. I can't find any data anywhere that suggests... that that small amount of cork is going to create some sort of a problem," said Dr. Knost.

Once the turf arrives, Dr. Knost said, the district will have it tested to check for dangerous elements and will share the results with district residents.

"We feel we've done our due diligence," said Dr. Knost.

The district chose to switch from current grass fields to a synthetic material to allow more teams and the band to use the field. Currently, many are banned from using the main field to protect the grass.
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