MOUNT LEBANON (KDKA) — Earth movers are busily clearing away the natural surface of a couple of ball fields in Mount Lebanon’s municipal park.

They are making way for Shaw Sports Turf, which will make the fields usable in the soggy spring and fall.

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“We can get much more activity on this kind of field than a traditional turf field,” said Mount Lebanon Manager Steve Feller.

Opponents, complete with yard signs, have battled to keep real grass. There are fears the synthetic surface, which is the same used on Mount Lebanon’s football field, will create heavy metal dangers from the ground up tire-fill.

“There’s no conclusive evidence that it’s safe and there’s no conclusive evidence that it’s not safe,” said Elaine Gillen, an opponent of the new turf.

A University of Washington soccer coach told NBC recently that she found 38 American soccer players with lymphoma or leukemia, 34 of them goalies, and all have been playing on tire crumb fill surface.

“There’s just a lot of scary coincidences,” said Gillen.

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Mount Lebanon’s commissioners say they have seen the report and say they believe the new field will be safe.

“Really all the scientific studies that were included in the NBC report have previously been reviewed by the commission,” said Feller.

There are currently more than 11,000 athletic fields in the country that have the turf.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Consumer Product Safety Commission have done limited testing, and neither has found any evidence of a health risk.

Those who will rally on Sunday would like this job put on hold, so more study can be done.

But at a minimum they want parents “to create awareness and let them make an informed decision whether they want their children to play on this or not,” said Gillen.

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