In the past, we’ve talked quite a bit about the difference between artificial turf and natural grass in terms of cost, maintenance, and even performance on playing fields. Recently, findings have come out that show there’s yet another reason to choose natural turf over artificial – toxicity. More here.

According to research outlined by an article by the Boston Globe, test results have shown that artificial turf contains elevated levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals (known as PFAs), which have been linked to kidney cancer, low infant birth weights, and a range of diseases. Such findings raise concerns about the safety of millions of square feet of artificial turf installed at parks, schools, professional sports stadiums, and practice fields around the U.S.

The reason artificial turf contains these chemicals is that the latest version of artificial turf is made of bright green plastic blades attached to a sod-like base. In order to make the blades stand up in a passable imitation of grass, since the 1990s most synthetic turf has required some sort of infill, which is usually crumb rubber made from shredded tires. The tiny bits of rubber are dumped on top of the blades and, according to the Synthetic Turf Council, give the turf “the look and playability of lush grass.” However, the mix of chemicals composing today’s turf are decidedly not grass. The rubber, which is used in large quantities (an estimated 40,000 tires are shredded to cover a single artificial turf field), contains heavy metals and other chemicals shown to pose serious health risks. Environmental groups take issue with the health risks of turf, with good reason. In fact, the Children’s Environmental Health Center of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai considers the fake grass so dangerous it called for a moratorium on new artificial fields in 2017.

These PFAs are called “forever chemicals” because they never fully degrade.
There are as many as 1,500 new artificial turf fields installed every year and public health advocates worry the potentially tainted runoff could contaminate water supplies around the country. “That is a big concern, since this turf is in many communities and is designed to drain precipitation off the fields, which can carry soluble contaminants into ground water underlying the turf,” said Betsy Southerland, former director of science and technology in the EPA Office of Water during the Obama administration. “Ground water, in turn, can be the direct source of drinking water for private wells and community water systems.”

At West Coast Turf, we use the best natural turfgrass sod and are leaders in Arizona sod and California sod. The grasses we use are perfect for water conservation and environmentally friendly lawns – with none of the toxic health risks of synthetic grass! Contact us to see what services we can offer you. https://www.westcoastturf.com/

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