“Forever chemicals” were found in grass used in the old Philadelphia Phillies stadium.
The chemicals were revealed as part of an investigation by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Inquirer investigated whether there was a link between the peat and ex-Phillies dying of brain cancer.
An investigation into the deaths of six former Philadelphia Phillies players from the same brain cancer has found that the artificial turf they played on for years contained dangerous compounds commonly referred to as “forever chemicals.”
After the death of former Phillies relief pitcher David West last year, reporters for the Philadelphia Inquirer bought pieces of the AstroTurf for sale online to have them tested for chemicals. The artificial turf was used for years and replaced several times at Veterans Stadium, where both the Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies played from 1971 to 2003.
The Inquirer hired a lab to test for 70 different per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as PFAS or “forever chemicals.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers them dangerous because they don’t break down easily in the environment and can contaminate drinking water.
The tests conducted by Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Environmental Testing found 16 PFAS in the grass samples, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), according to the researcher. PFOA and PFOS are two of the most studied PFAS because they have been produced and used the most.
The American Cancer Society says animal and human studies have linked the chemicals to certain types of cancer, but further research is needed to clarify a definitive connection.
The labs that conducted the tests told the researcher that the levels in the turf would be concerning if found in drinking water, but less is known about the effects of repeated skin contact with the chemicals.
The turf used at the stadium, where recorded temperatures regularly exceeded 100 degrees during summer Phillies games, could also have given off chemical fumes inhaled by the players, according to the investigator.
The Phillies responded to the report, saying several brain cancer experts have told the organization there is no proven link between the turf and the deaths of the six players, all of whom died before age 60.
However, the researcher reported that other experts cited studies that found PFAS in the brain — one by Chinese researchers who found the chemicals in brain tumor tissue, and another by Italian scientists who found PFAS in the brains of people who drank water contaminated with the chemicals. .
The Phillies played their last game at the stadium in September 2003, and it was demolished in March 2004.
The six former Phillies – Tug McGraw, Darren Daulton, John Vukovich, John Oates, Ken Brett and David West – all died of glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. The tumor is most common in people in their demographic: white men between the ages of 40 and 70, a neurologist told the Inquirer.
But the rate at which it was found among the more than 500 Phillies that played the turf for years is about three times higher than the average, according to the researcher.
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