Some parents oppose new synthetic turf fields in North Haven

NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — North Haven is building two synthetic turf fields at the town’s middle school. Some parents are opposed to their construction, and are speaking out. They acknowledge that the kids need new fields, but they are worried about the chemicals in the crumb rubber infill and the impact it’ll have on the kids’ health. Crumb rubber is made from old tires.

“There have been multiple studies that have found carcinogens and lung irritants within the material,” said Amanda Gabriele, a North Haven parent opposed to the construction of the crumb rubber fields.

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The group, called North Haven Against Shredded Tire Infill, or NHASTI, has started a website. It also has an online petition with more than 200 signatures. However, residents who want those fields to be built have started one of their own.

The town’s Board of Selectmen already voted not to go forward with a referendum at an emotional town meeting this past spring. Mayor Michael Freda says overturning that decision would be an abuse of his power.

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There would be petitions back and forth to overturn decisions that are made for town meetings for referendums back and forth. At some point our government has to make a decision.”

Some residents like the synthetic turf fields. They say the fields need less maintenance, are cheaper, and can withstand bad weather better. Many don’t believe there are any credible studies linking them to health hazards.

“As a coach I’m very comfortable with it,” said North Haven resident Bernard Pellegrino. “As a parent I’m comfortable with it.”

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Some parents believe there are better options for their kids, and they want to make their voices heard.

“I hope that we can sit down at the table in a cordial manner and come up with a solution that is cost effective and safe,” said North Haven resident and parent Chandra Prasad.

The town says kids won’t be required to use crumb rubber fields at school; there are grass fields they can use instead.

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Parents opposing the fields’ construction are planning on attending Thursday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting.

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