With lower maintenance and a higher playability than grass, artificial turf has become an increasingly popular feature in parks, playgrounds and schools around the world. However, in recent years there have been growing concerns about the detrimental effect that these synthetic surfaces may be having on children’s health, causing many parents to question how safe it is. So, exactly how safe is artificial grass, and should we be letting our kids play on it?
What are the health implications?
One of the main issues that has been raised about artificial turf is its toxic properties, such as lead and crumb rubber. However, according to the Synthetic Turf Council, these health risks have now been resolved and the safety of synthetic turf has been proven to be safe for children and people of all ages. So far, there is no evidence to suggest that it has a negative effect on kids’ health and while there may be a small amount of chemicals present, studies have shown that these substances are not at a high enough level to pose a risk to children.
What should I look out for when buying synthetic turf?
If you’re thinking about investing in synthetic grass, it’s important to make sure you opt for a reputable source that provides surfaces that are free from harmful chemicals. As specialist suppliers TigerTurf point out, synthetic turf that is lead-free and contains no toxic chemicals is a safe and healthy option for sports and landscaped surfaces.
It’s also worth checking to make sure that all coatings, backings and glue that is used during the production process pass the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) requirements for use by children.
Are there any other safety issues?
Unlike grass that gets torn up by rough play and causes slippery patches of mud to appear, artificial surfaces are far more durable and resistant to wear and tear. So if you’re looking for a low-maintenance garden or surface that your kids can play on all year round, synthetic grass might be the ideal choice. It also offers a more even playing surface than natural grass and the rubber infill softens the impact for children who fall over, helping to prevent serious injuries.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that synthetic turf is free from some of the chemicals that may be used on natural grass as it doesn’t require treatment with pesticides and fertilisers.
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