An agreement has been signed off by California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. on Aug. 14 that requires AstroTurf, LLC reformulate its artificial turf products so that they contain lead levels of less than 100 parts per million (ppm). It’s a ruling that is aimed at ensuring the safety of balls fields and playgrounds used by children.

The ruling goes further, requiring the lead levels to be reduced even further to 50 ppm by June 2010. It has been found in testing by both the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) as well as the Attorney General’s office that some AstroTurf products contained more than 5,000 ppm of lead.

If the existing stocks do not meet the standards agreed to in this ruling, AstroTurf will be prohibited from selling it. The company must also notify customers who had AstroTurf installed over the last 5 years with a warning letter.

The warning will (1) inform customers that the turf products contain lead; (2) explain “good maintenance practices” that can effectively reduce exposures to lead; and (3) advise the customers of the availability of the program to test and replace old turf products.

Making an announcement about the agreement Brown said, “As schools and daycare centers replace grass with artificial turf, extreme care must be taken to minimize lead exposure. This agreement is the first of its kind and will help make playgrounds and ball fields safe for our children.”

AstroTurf President Bryan Peeples said in a statement, “Out of concern for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of California and all of the folks who come in contact with any of our products, we took immediate action. Our products were already deemed safe by national standards. We respect the additional concerns of California, and have already eliminated any intentionally added lead.”