Seminole County parents say crumb rubber sports fields could endanger children

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — Seminole County parents and coaches are worried the crumb rubber on the new sports fields could put their children in danger this summer.

They said it can get so hot, the crumb rubber could melt the soles of their children’s shoes.

Assistant coach Eric Schmidt told Channel 9 the rubber has heated to 170 degrees.

Schmidt said he bought a heat gun to test it.

“It got too hot and the glue just melted; that was the end of it. Fell right off his feet,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt has been coaching little league for six years. He said the crumb rubber fields at the Seminole County Sports Complex look sharp.

“They love the fields. The balls bounce consistently as compared to a dirt field,” said Schmidt.

But on a hot summer day, Schmidt said the artificial turf gets too hot.

The county said its had complaints about the heat in the new fields and reached out to the manufacturer in search of solutions. 
So far, it doesn't have any.

Meanwhile, the federal government is running tests on potential carcinogens in the crumb rubber, and that investigation should wrap up by the end of the year.

Schmidt said his grandson and his team play on the turf, and while he doesn't know what to think about crumb rubber and carcinogens, he's seen enough to know the temperature on the turf goes too high.

“It's 170 degrees, and they're arms laying in this stuff. Are they going to get burned by that? That's what I'm afraid of,” he said.

Seminole County said no injuries have been reported.

Schmidt said he wants to make sure there aren't any.

“First mandate as a coach is player safety,” he said.

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