Communities continue to install an increasing number of artificial turf fields.
The Delaware Riverkeeper Network receives regular calls for information, assistance and comment letters to help resist these economically costly endeavors that bring a variety of harms to the kids and communities where they are placed.
Our comments and concerns include both the environmental and the human health impacts of Artificial Turf.
Synthetic turf is generally made with rubber from waste tires. Recycled rubber varies considerably in its chemical composition, even when from the same manufacturer. Hazardous substances found in tires may persist in the environment including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), phthalates and certain metals. These substances may be bioaccumulative, carcinogenic, reprotoxic, mutagenic and/or endocrine disrupting.
Research has demonstrated concerns regarding water qualtiy and toxic affects for aquatic life.
Direct human exposure to the hazardous substances contained in the rubber in-fill of artificial turf is believed to occur via three pathways: inhalation, skin contact, and/or ingestion including by children who come into contact with the material. Each pathway creating its own set of health concerns.
Excessive heat is a major threat for those that play on artificial turf. High surface temperatures found on artificial turf fields can contribute to physiological stress and cause “serious heat-related illnesses”. Heat stress, heat stroke and burns are all of concern.
If you are faced with an artificial turf proposal in your watershed community reach out if you think Delaware Riverkeeper Network can be of assistance. In addition, the fact sheets and comment letters provided below include a wealth of information that can help get you better educated on this important issue and provides key points and information you could borrow for your own local advocacy efforts.