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Study Finds Crumb Rubber Artificial Turf Poses No Significant Threat

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Add this to the long list of definitive scientific reports proving the safety of artificial turf. A new study released on Friday by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Department of Health (DOH) concludes that crumb rubber material used in synthetic turf fields poses no significant environmental threat to air or water quality and poses no significant health concerns.

The study assessed the potential release of chemicals in crumb rubber to the environment. Crumb rubber, produced by grinding scrap tires, is a common "infill" material for synthetic turf fields.

It is a key component towards ensuring proper cushioning and energy restitution required to generate ideal performance and ensure the high levels of safety that these new generation synthetic turf fields have become known for.

The study can be found on DEC's "Waste Tire" Web page,

The study made the following major conclusions:

  • There is no significant threat from chemicals leaching into surface water and groundwater. While some chemicals can be released from crumb rubber over time, they are in small concentrations and are reduced by absorption, degradation and dilution--resulting in no significant impact on groundwater or surface water.
  • Lead concentrations in crumb rubber are well below federal hazard standards for lead in soil and do not represent a significant source of lead exposure.
  • Levels of chemicals in the air at synthetic turf fields do not raise a significant health concern.

To carry out the study, New York state scientists conducted lab tests on crumb rubber samples obtained from manufacturers and conducted tests at synthetic fields. They tested for leaching, exposure to acid rain and acid digestion, exposed samples to a range of temperatures to observe impacts, assessed chemical particle sizes for their potential to move through soil and air, collected soil samples at wells down-gradient from existing synthetic turf fields and measured air samples upwind and downwind of such fields.

Led by DEC's Division of Solid and Hazardous Materials and the Division of Air Resources, the state pursued a comprehensive evaluation of potential chemical releases from crumb rubber. It involved an interdisciplinary approach, drawing upon expertise in DEC's and DOH's other programs including water resources, remediation, laboratory, chemistry and fish and wildlife.

The studies continue to roll in and the results remain the same. The DEC and DOH have reiterated the safety of artificial turf - something that hundreds of organizations worldwide have proven through scientific analysis and testing for many years.

FieldTurf offers industry leading engineering and manufacturing resources, unparalleled leasing and financing capabilities and leads the synthetic turf industry with regard to setting higher environmental standards. FieldTurf is the global market leader in terms of synthetic sports fields with over 3000 fields installed. Additionally, FieldTurf has attained over 12,000 satisfied customers in high quality pet, residential, commercial and municipal landscaping solutions, playground surfacing and has a complete range of golf and tennis products. FieldTurf synthetic turf customers enjoy the benefits of significantly reduced water consumption, the elimination of fertilizer and pesticides, superior durability and drainage and a product that looks and feels real. The positive environmental impact of FieldTurf provides the added benefit of LEED building contributions.

FieldTurf is part of Tarkett Sports, a Division of the Tarkett Group. Tarkett Sports is the largest entity in the sports and landscape surfacing industries. Included within the Tarkett Sports portfolio is an impressive range of performance sports flooring products. This product range includes: synthetic and hardwood basketball; volleyball and gymnasium flooring; squash and racquetball courts; floor protection and covering systems; weight room flooring; and high performance indoor and outdoor running tracks, featuring Beynon track surfaces. All Tarkett Sports surfaces are developed, produced and installed with a concentration on sustainability and a commitment to protecting the environment, providing additional LEED contribution opportunities for customers. The company calls this focus on sustainability and the environment 'Environmental Intelligence' and all company personnel strive to exemplify this philosophy in all aspects of the business.

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December 6, 2019, 12:34 pm PDT

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