A recent study conducted by the Philadelphia Inquirer showed that the artificial turf at Veterans Stadium, the longtime former home of Major League Baseball's Philadelphia Phillies and the National Football League's Philadelphia Eagles, had cancerous chemicals, which may have been the cause of several former Phillies players' deaths.
The Inquirer launched its investigation into the Vet's turf after relief pitcher David West became the sixth former Phillies player to have died from glioblastoma, a rare, aggressive form of brain cancer, following Tug McGraw, John Vukovich, Ken Brett, Dan Quisenberry and Johnny Oates, all of whom died before the age of 60. The study found that the turf, which was produced by Monsanto and used at the stadium from 1977 to 2001, had dangerous "forever chemicals."
The Phillies had previously sold pieces of the turf sealed in 4-by-4 inch bags in 1982 and four were purchased by the Inquirer on eBay as part of its investigation in 2022. The samples were analyzed by two separate labs and found to contain 16 different "forever chemicals" that fail to break down and remain in the human body for years.
The chemicals are connected to several forms of cancer, including brain cancer, which claimed the lives of six of the 532 former Phillies players who played at the Vet from 1971 to 2003, more than triple the average rate of adult men.
“We know that the liver is affected. We know that the kidneys are affected. We know the testicles are affected,” said Graham Peaslee, a physicist at the University of Notre Dame, via the Inquirer. “But nobody’s ever done the study to see if the brain is affected, because glioblastoma is such a rare disease.”
Veterans Stadium was demolished in 2004 with the Phillies moving to Citizens Bank Park and the Eagles moving to Lincoln Financial Field that same year.
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