Artificial Turf: Is it Safe for Your Family?
Have you heard the rumors about the safety of artificial turf?
Artificial turf, sometimes called artificial grass, is a solution for lawns where grass doesn’t grow. You’ll also find it on most sports fields because it stands up to wear and tear better than its natural counterpart.
It’s durable, cheaper to maintain, and easier to install.
So why do some people dispute whether its safe? The answer is that some concerned parents worry about the issue after high-profile reporting of incidences of cancer.
While those cancer cases are real, placing the blame squarely on artificial grass doesn’t tell the whole story. Learn more and see how this can provide options for your lawn.
What Is Artificial Turf?
Artificial turf features three parts:
- Plastic blades of grass
- Infill for support
- Backing material
The infill of artificial grass comes from recycled tires, which is where many of the concerns regarding safety come from.
Why Might It Be Bad for Kids?
Some worry about the safety of synthetic turf because manufacturers expose tires to chemicals during the manufacturing process. The danger comes when kids slide around on the turf and cover themselves in fragments of the infill.
The issue came to the fore in 2014 when an investigation found that goalkeepers on American soccer teams experienced strange rates of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers. A list of players with cancer included 38 total players with 34 of them playing as goalies.
However, many of those players came from Washington state, and there was no discussion of whether another environmental factor might be to blame for the incidence of cancer.
Is Artificial Turf Dangerous?
The evidence for issues like cancer is anecdotal. The list of kids diagnosed with cancer comes from personal experience – not a scientific data set. At present, no research links artificial grass and cancer.
At the same time, the lack of testing the safety of artificial grass – and chemicals used to manufacture it – sometimes allows individuals to draw their own conclusions. An extensive investigation by NBC News couldn’t find any consensus on the matter.
The Synthetic Turf Council say they have 14 studies available that do not link adverse health effects to artificial turf. In other words, they argue that it is safe for kids.
What’s the Verdict?
No one is saying that artificial turf doesn’t come with some exposure to chemicals of potential concern (COPC) – just as a treated natural lawn does. However, scientists say that exposure to these chemicals is low enough to that it doesn’t reach the threshold of concern.
The scientific community limits its advice to suggesting that any facilities using artificial turf indoors – where exposure is highest – provide plenty of ventilation to avoid the buildup of chemicals.
Is Artificial Turf Safe for Your Family?
The cause for concern in artificial turf is the backing made of tires. Although the scientific community still discusses the issue regularly, no evidence points to the grass as a health hazard.
Is it safe for your family? Installing it outdoors is safe, and as long as your children don’t eat the infill for their daily afternoon snack, your family likely sees no risk.
Do you have more questions about adding artificial grass? We would love to help.
Get in touch today to learn more about how it can be a solution for your home.