My job, which involves painting the lines and markings on high school and collegiate outdoor running tracks, allows me to come in contact with some interesting individuals. A week ago, we were touching up some patch work at a school that just had an artificial turf field installed inside of the track. There was a salesman for artificial turf paint who was checking out the site. I questioned him about the project and he said that while he makes a lot of money off of the synthetic fields, he would not let his kids play on them. He said that what the industry is ignoring is the prevalence of penicillin-resistant Staph infections that are due to synthetic turf abrasions. He went on to explain that the natural turf (grass) contains enough of the beneficial microbes to break down the common deposit of trash, fecal matter, blood, urine and sweat. However, synthetic fields are built upon a vegetation-free stone base, upon which the rubber filled carpet rests. This creates a great environment for drug-resistant Staph, with no beneficial microbes with which to compete for existence. This explanation prompted me to ask why a school would provide such a dangerous environment for their athletes, at such a high cost (at least $500K). He indicated that "status" had a great deal to do with capital projects and predicted that synthetic turf fields will disappear as fast as they came on the scene.
I have since lightly researched the artificial turf-staph connection and have found that many facilities are trying to live with the problem by spraying their fields bi-monthly with a biocide, as well as treating synthetic turf abrasions immediately with topical and antibiotic (other than penicillin) prescriptions.
I wanted to provide this info to the Tribe so that they can be wiser when choosing a playing/training surface for their loved ones, as well as themselves.