For the past few weeks, I’ve heard a lot about playing in synthetic fields and artificial grass, and why real grass can’t even come close to handling the field load, when several games are played in one week. Or when a good rainstorm during a football game will turn the field into a mud pit. I understand why somebody would want to replace natural grass, for synthetic turf. Some of the main reasons I’ve heard is that synthetic turf doesn’t need to be watered, or that it can withstand a lot of abuse. Or that is cheaper, and more durable than real grass.
This is what I’ve learned about artificial grass:
1. Artificial grass or synthetic turf like grass require irrigation because of the high temperatures on the fields during hot and sunny days.
2. Synthetic turf fields are be sprayed with chemical desinfectants.
3. Synthetic turf grass cost more to install, maintain, and replace than natural turf.
4. Exposure to ground up rubber tires, put our children at risk.
5. Environmental benefits of real grass are many. (And here I am defending real grass vs plastic grass)
- Better quality
- Better price
Safer, because you don’t have to play on a field made out of a large number of hazardous substances.
Better quality, because having an organic lawn means you don’t have to put your family at risk when playing. Real grass feels cooler, specially in the summer. Freshly cut grass has a pleasant smell. Synthetic turf has a strong odor.
Better price, because long term reports shows real turf is cheaper than artificial grass.
Why artificial grass is dangerous
Not long ago NBC aired a report about the possible dangers of synthetic grass, and in particular “crumb rubber”, which is basically tiny black crumbs made from pulverized car tires, and deposited in between the fake grass blades. And A Rubber tires contains phthalates, which are chemicals that affect hormones. (A quick search on Google shows why phthalates are dangerous in children’s toys). Rubber tires also contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
So, all those things are in synthetic turf. And nothing has been done to determine what are the effects of those chemicals in the human body, and specifically in children. EPA is supposedly releasing a draft status report at the end of 2016. Basically 20 years after the first artificial turf was installed in the US.
So, what are your thoughts about artificial grass? Do you still think it is safe to play of fake turf?