The Next Step

Hi folks,

The next thing that needs to happen is for the 5 City JPA Reps (Berkeley, Albany, Richmond, Emeryville & El Cerrito) to approve the City of Berkeley’s recommendation for a new field with a shock pad an cork infill. The JPA will meet this Wed, 5/24, to discuss Berkeley’s proposal. The JPA Reps will then take this information back to their city councils to discuss.

Next action items:
  • Please call or e-mail as many of your local city council members as you can, to ask them to support the City of Berkeley’s recommendation for the Gilman Fields renovation with a shock pad and cork infill. Mention that you live in their city and you hope they will support the safest option for Gilman Fields. If you don’t reach them directly, leave a message!
  • If you live in Berkeley, let your council members know that you support the City’s proposal, and thank them for their leadership.

Here are the URLs for each city. Click on your city’s link to get the phone numbers and email addresses.

City of Berkeley Recommends Cork Infill Replacement w/Shock Pad

More good news!

Concentrated piles of tire crumb next to a goalpost on the north turf field

The City of Berkeley staff is recommending to the JPA (the five city consortium responsible for funding for Gilman Fields- Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Richmond and Emeryville) that the Gilman turf gets replaced with a shock pad plus a cork (i.e. non crumb-rubber) infill.

The city’s full memo is posted here:

What’s Next?

The City of Berkeley’s recommendation is that the incremental
costs are divided among the five JPA cities on a pro-rated basis based
on the population of each city.  It is not yet clear if all five
cities will accept this approach or propose some alternative (e.g.
increased user fees, etc).

Our community’s voices are being heard

All of your letters, emails and petition signatures that we submitted to the city of Berkeley made a huge difference in getting this recommendation — great job everyone!

Letter of support from ABSC for shock pad at Gilman

ABSCGood news!  Toney Wright and the ABSC Board of Directors have written a letter to the JPA supporting the City of Berkeley and their consultant’s recommendation to install a shock pad at Gilman. Shock pads reduce concussions along with knee and ankle injuries and are required for fields with non-crumb rubber infill. Please see letter below.

JPA meeting date to vote on the turf replacement project was rescheduled to 5/24/17.

We’re hoping other clubs will write letters of support as well! Please encourage your sports club or school to write a letter to the JPA endorsing the installation of a shock pad under the Turf carpet, and let us know so we can monitor the progress! Thanks!

See letter below.

Continue reading “Letter of support from ABSC for shock pad at Gilman”

Mar. 25 Meeting / Main Points

The City of Berkeley (COB) Gilman field project team presented their results. Here are highlights from each of the presenters:

A Shock Pad is Recommended for Turf Fields to Reduce Injuries

Wesley Bexton, Carducci Associates:
The main take away: a shock pad is recommended for all of the infill types. A shock pad would last for 16 years, i.e. two field renovation cycles.  Shock pads help reduce knee, ankle, foot, and toe injuries, and head-to-ground concussions.  Gmax ratings measure the hardness of the surface of fields.  Natural turf has a Gmax rating of 78 to 115.  The synthetic turf industry guideline is for a Gmax rating is under 165.  Fields with crumb rubber infill and no shock pad have ratings over 165.  When the Gmax rating exceeds 200, fields should be closed. He stated that the field is the safety equipment for soccer players.

(The turf fields at Gilman do not currently have shock pads.)

Crumb Rubber From Tire Waste Manufactured in China Has Substantially Higher Toxicity Levels

David Teeter, Millennium Consulting Associates:
When consultants work in the realm of environmental risks and public health, they attempt to quantify those risks in terms of the likelihood of negative outcomes due to exposure.  The two most dangerous carcinogens in crumb rubber are arsenic and PAH benzoin pyrene.  Acceptable risk is defined as the range of probabilities between 1 in 100,000 and 1 in 1,000,000.  Crumb rubber risk is estimated at 7 in 10,000,000, which is less than 1 in 1,000,000, and is therefore deemed an acceptable risk.  Increasingly, **crumb rubber from tires manufactured in China with higher toxicity levels have been incorporated into the crumb rubber supply in the US.  This crumb rubber falls under the not acceptable risk range, and it’s not feasible to exclude it from the mix.

(**We, Safe Gilman Turf Coordinators, think this is a strong argument against another field with crumb rubber!)

The consultants to the City of Berkeley presented three field options, with definitive budget numbers due shortly:

  1. cork field with shock pad
  2. crumb rubber with shock pad
  3. crumb rubber without shock pad

Cork and Coconut infill material (corkonut) is not being considered, as it would cost substantially more, partly due to an irrigation system needed. Additionally, the non-organic corkonut has a higher metal content due to pesticides used.  GreenPlay corkonut is organic, therefore we found out that it does not have the higher metal content.

Next Steps

The COB will provide their presentation notes in a week on their website.

We are requesting Gmax testing for current Gilman Fields, so that we will know how safe the current crumb rubber fields are.
Thanks for reading!
– Safe Gilman Turf Coordinators

Notes from Jan 28 Meeting – What’s Next?

Hi all,

Our meeting with the City of Berkeley at the Frances Albrier Community Center took place this past Saturday.  We had a nice turnout of Spurs and ABSC parents and some kids even showed up as well! The architecture firm along with the turf infill researchers attended and presented at the meeting as well.


Several different alternatives to tire crumb rubber infill (including organic options – cork & coconut fiber) were presented as samples in jars and on a (crumb rubber turf industry created) comparison chart which listed pros and cons of the different types of turf infill, as well as estimated costs per square foot.

People who attended the meeting were invited to voice their concerns – many brought up health and environmental concerns of the crumb rubber infill and were strongly opposed to using it again as a replacement.  We all agreed that health and safety was our number one concern and that we do NOT want more crumb rubber.

The next meeting is scheduled to take place on March 25th (we’ll post it here as soon as that date is confirmed) at which point the City of Berkeley will make recommendations on which turf infill to use based on their research and our comments / concerns – but ultimately cost will be a decisive factor, as the budget to replace the turf was only set at the cost to use crumb rubber infill (organics are more expensive – a ballpark figure given by the head of Berkeley Rec. Dept. was $250k more – but without actual bids to work from it’s difficult to know how accurate that is.

Much of the discussion did center around cost, and so different ideas among the parents were brought up to increase the budget for the turf replacement, such as:

  • Getting our city councils (El Cerrito, Emeryville, Albany, Berkeley, Richmond) that contribute to the JPA to increase their contribution; also getting other towns that use the field (e.g. – Kensington) to contribute
  • Getting Easy Bay Regional Parks District to increase their contributions
  • Crowdfunding / fundraising
  • Local Corporate Sponsor(s) – e.g. – Clif Bar or Whole Foods (do you know anyone who works for such a company?)
  • Contributions from clubs / field users

We are going to meet this Sunday to discuss further steps.  We need your help to make this safe turf a reality.   Please come this Sunday, 2/5, at 10am at the home of Kristin Leimkuhler and Jeffrey Wilk – email us to get the location.

If you were at the meeting Saturday and want to add anything, or if you have any questions / discussion points, please leave a comment below!