Pros and Cons: Cherry Hill East’s New Turf Field


Emelia Keller

The loss dropped the Cougars record to 0-4

One of the new things that greeted Cherry Hill East high school students this year was the construction of the new turf field. The construction of the field finished recently. On Saturday, October 8, before the Cherry Hill East football game, Cherry Hill East cut the ribbon on its brand new field.  Besides serving as a great home field for its football team, the new turf fields offer a lot of perks to the school.  However, the field also poses potential risks.

In addition to the football team, the turf field will also be used by the soccer, lacrosse and field hockey teams.  When not needed by the high school, the field will be available to the Cherry Hill community.  Cherry Hill Township has been trying to figure out a way to improve the athletic fields throughout the township and realized that the best solution would be to build a turf field.   

When asked about the turf field, Cherry Hill Mayor, Chuck Cahn, said “My administration remains committed to partnering with the district to ensure our student-athletes have access to first-rate, competitive facilities that are well-maintained and safe for play.”

Unlike the grass fields that the turf replaces, the turf field is easier to maintain and allows athletes to play on it all year round. The turf field is durable and will retain its quality regardless of bad weather and usage. It will not get torn up from people playing on it, and  mud and holes which could cause injury will not form.

Although the turf field is a great improvement for Cherry Hill East, it does pose some health concerns. The turf is made up of three layers: the drainage, shock absorber, and surface.  The surface is made up of artificial grass and ground-up recycled tires, ground-up soles of athletic shoes, silica sand, and/or new thermoplastic or rubber material called “crumb rubber” according to

This “crumb rubber” has been found to contain toxic products such as toxic metals, carcinogens, latex which could cause allergic reactions, and phthalates which have adverse effects on the reproductive organs. These materials could be inhaled, ingested, or contact the skin which could result in harmful effects.

Turf fields have more than just health problems. Sanitation might also be problem because goose or dog feces will not be able to decompose on the turf. Another problem is that turf fields get a lot hotter than grass fields, and at times the field might be too hot to play on.

Many of the Cherry Hill athletes playing on the new turf field grew up playing on the turf fields of Decou. During those years playing at Decou, they have become used to playing on turf and there have not been any reports of any negative health impacts from playing on the turf fields. Nor has there been an increase in physical injuries as a result.

Although there are lingering concerns over the health impact of the turf field, Cherry Hill East looks forward to years of safe and successful use of the turf field.