Chandra Rosenthal, Rocky Mountain office director for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, lives near Robinson Park, located at 200 Fairfax Street. When the park’s playground got an update thanks to a 2017 Elevate Bond, Rosenthal was concerned that artificial turf was part of the project.
“I was so impressed, and then I saw the artificial turf section and I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, why didn’t they use bark, like they did under the swings?’” she recalls. Artificial turf often contains PFAS, chemicals that don’t break down over time; some studies suggest they can cause adverse health conditions, including cancer.
PEER works with government employees to improve environmental laws and regulations. Rosenthal thought that Denver Parks and Recreation might not know about the dangers of PFAS, and she reached out to the department in February. In April, she finally got to meet with a contingent that included Gordon Robertson, Parks and Recreation director of planning, design and construction, as well as other members of the finance, design and planning divisions. A Denver Department of Public Health and Environment scientist was also present.