Parents express concern over artificial turf materials

A parents council at Oyster-Adams Bilingual School is calling on the District to include parents on decisions made about what materials to use to replace aging artificial turf fields.

The parents held a town hall meeting at the school Tuesday night and invited an epidemiologist as well as an engineer who designs and tests synthetic turf fields for the city.

At moments, the conversation got heated while parents talked over the engineer Ryan Teeter, of LDD Sports, which has been chosen to design four fields being replaced by the Department of General Services (DGS). Teeter tried to assure parents that the field materials are safe, but many remained skeptical and are advocates of natural grass options.

The field controversy came to light this week after online publication DCist first reported nearly a dozen synthetic turf fields managed by the District failed recent impact tests that measure the amount of force they can absorb. That number is up to 16, according to DGS' latest list provided to FOX 5 on Tuesday.

The list includes McKinley High School, Wilson High School, Riggs Recreation Center, Bell/Lincoln (Columbia Heights EC), Deanwood Recreation Center, Jellef Recreation Center, Bundy Field, Parkview Recreation Center and Upshur Park, which have all been repaired according to DGS.

DGS says Brightwood Elementary School's field will be repaired this week.

Janney, Adams and Eaton elementary schools have been designated to have their fields replaced, while Ross, Tubman and Mann elementary schools originally failed impact testing, but passed on second tests. Those three fields have been returned to normal use.

DGS is holding a news conference about the failing turf fields and the replacement plans on Wednesday morning.