Response to health concerns associated with use of artificial grass


The versatility and durability of fourth generation artificial turfs has caused an unprecedented resurgence in demand for this product. None the less, the safety of the materials such as crumb rubber used in the manufacturing process continues to be matter of public concern. This article aims to clarify the known issues surrounding the use of granulated rubber and other recycled materials as in fills and backing for artificial grass.

Argument: critics often assert that recycled rubber (SBR) used as a filler material is toxic, this is not the case. Recycled rubber is a material that has been in use for over two decades in as a construction material for structures meant for public use such as playgrounds, running tracks, roads and parks.

Response:More than forty six billion tires have been shredded on city streets and high ways. Every year aeroplanes, buses and trucks wear down more than 300 million tires. Simply put, human beings have been exposed to this kind of rubber from the time the car was invented. An artificial turf is representative of only 0.0017 percent of the rubber that is currently in the environment. If it is indeed dangerous, then more emphasis should be directed towards the remaining 99.9983 percent

Argument: PAHs in crumb rubber cause cancer

 “Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons” also known as PAHs are naturally occurring chemical compounds that are abundant in our environment. The argument that PAHs in crumb rubber are dangerous should be weighed against the fact that combustion processes that involve fossil fuels are the leading sources of PAHs in the planet’s atmosphere.

Argument: reducing the number of PAHs in tires will cause a general reduction in the amount of PAHs in the environment.

In a report published by the scientific committee on toxicity, Eco toxicity and the environment, researchers conclude that a reduction in the concentration of PAHs in tyre rubber will have only an insignificant effect on the general concentration of PAHs found in the atmosphere. The researchers continue on to state that tires were only responsible for less than 2 percent of the exposure attributed to breathable particles

Based on this knowledge, the risk from PAHs in an artificial field would be about 0.000000008 percent.

Argument:The materials used in artificial surfaces have adverse health effects on users. Therehasn’t been any recorded injury attributable to contact with or ingestion of artificial turf infill materials. A study comparative study on the artificial and natural grass that ran for five years concluded that artificial grass actually caused a general decline in the severity and number of injuries sustained.

Argument: the sand used as an infill for artificial turf caused silicosis

The sand used in artificial turf will not cause silicosis. Diseases acquired from exposure to sand are the result of the inhalation of breathable crystalline silica. These particles are so minute that theycannot be seen by the naked eye and are only found in places where sand blasting occurs. The forces involved in such activities are usually strong enough to break sand particles apart.