Lawrence NJ officials are still testing soil samples to determine the extent of contamination at several local athletic fields.

The investigation was necessitated by the shocking discovery of high levels of benzopyrene, a dangerous carcinogen, at a baseball field on Lawrence’s middle school and high school campus. Benzopyrene is a dangerous carcinogen that is most commonly found in cigarette smoke and car exhaust fumes.

The initial testing was conducted in connection with a massive, multimillion dollar project to install synthetic turf on the Lawrence NJ school’s athletic fields. Prior to awarding the installation contract to a bidder and starting construction, the school district ordered tests of one of the baseball fields.

The Lawrence Township Public School District conducted the testing of soil samples and later said that the tests came back positive for benzopyrene that was above the acceptable limits. Although the testing of soil samples showed there were many parts of the field that were not contaminated by the carcinogen, the results were still alarming enough that the school district felt compelled to order further testing on other athletic fields across the Lawrence school’s 52-acre campus. The testing was conducted by an environmental consultant.

The additional soil samples that came back reportedly showed that at least three other athletic fields at the Lawrence Township school were contaminated with arsenic, as well as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These substances have been found to cause cancer.

At this time, officials are still trying to determine the source of the contamination of the athletic fields. Meanwhile, students have been barred from participating in any activities on the contaminated fields, with Lawrence NJ high school baseball and softball players being shifted to other locations.

Additionally, the school district’s plan to install artificial turf on the Lawrence NJ athletic fields has been delayed – at least until the district can figure out what to do about the contaminated soils.

Depending on the outcome of the official investigation into the cause of the contamination, it is possible that the school district, or anyone else responsible for the contamination, could be the subject of a personal injury lawsuit – specifically under the theory of premises liability. The reason this sort of contamination, or poisoning, lawsuit falls under the general category of premises liability is that it involves health issues caused by unsafe conditions on a piece of land or property.

Interestingly, the school had considered using crumb rubber turf on the new athletic fields. However, that plan was shelved due to concerns about cancer risks posed by the artificial turf. In fact, manufacturers of crumb rubber turf have found themselves the subjects of product liability lawsuits in recent years.

For further information about this personal injury case, access the following article: More carcinogens found on N.J. school’s athletic fields