Toxic Artificial Turf In Phillies’ Old Stadium Linked To Aggressive Brain Cancer And Death Of Former Players Between 1971 – 2003

The Philadelphia Phillies have a shocking discovery about their old stadium. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports its investigation found that the artificial turf used at Veterans Stadium contains dangerous compounds commonly referred to as “forever chemicals,” raising the specter of a correlation to the deaths of six former Phillies players. The Eagles and Phillies played at the stadium from 1971 to 2003.

Phillies batting helmet in their dugout, Veterans Stadium during a home game. (Photo: Getty Images)

The death of former Phillies’ relief pitcher David West caused the Philadelphia Inquirer to get curious and start their own investigation. So, they went online to purchase pieces of the turf and had it sent to two different labs to be tested. The turf in question was replaced several times throughout the years. The lab tested 70 different per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS.

The CDC consider the chemicals to be dangerous because they don’t break down easily and have be known to contaminate drinking water.

The Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories Environmental Testing center, one of two labs that was used by the Inquirer, found 16 PFAS in the turf samples. Among two of the PFAS that were found are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). Both are two of the most studied, produced, and used PFAS.

Other players in addition to West are: Tug McGraw, Darren Daulton, John Vukovich, John Oates, and Ken Brett. All six players were discovered to have glioblastoma that resulted in their deaths. Glioblastoma is an aggressive form of brain cancer found more commonly in white males between the ages of 40 and 70.

The cancer starts out as a growth of cells in the brain or spinal cord. It grows quickly to invade and destroy healthy cells. There is currently no cure for the disease, and it is a very rare form of cancer.

“We know that the liver is affected. We know that the kidneys are affected. We know the testicles are affected,” Graham Peaslee, a physicist at the University of Notre Dame, told the Inquirer. “But nobody’s ever done the study to see if the brain is affected, because glioblastoma is such a rare disease.”

The report also stated that the turf used by the Phillies could have released chemical vapors that the players inhaled during the summertime when temperatures were usually to be over 100 degrees.

The Phillies responded in a statement and said that several brain experts told them that there is no proven link to the turf and the brain cancer found in the six former players. Brett (1973), Oates(1975), and West (1994-96) all played for the Phillies in three or less seasons. The other three players suited up for the team in five or more seasons.

According to the Inquirer’s report, the alarming rate found in over 500 former players that played on the turf is about three times higher than the average rate.

There has been no link to former Eagles players. The Phillies played their last game at Veterans Stadium in September 2003 and it was demolished in 2004.


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