This is our view of the  “lead in synthetic turf” controversy currently raging in the industry and what portions of it are correct and what portions of it are not being properly addressed. You may have a different view and we would be very interested in hearing them.

Recently, we have been asked to produce a quick reference guide about the health issues related to synthetic turf for our company, TargaPro; by a number of our existing clients that are fielding questions from concerned parties. As we are bidding and currently working a number of sites where artificial turf has become a major issue, the copmpany has prepared a statement that obviates those concerns. Supporting documents for the statements below are available upon request.

Following the CPSC ruling that “there is no problem with the turf”, we see a constant stream of misinformation pertaining to the issue of lead in synthetic turf and the resulting health issues. The CPSC was correct – about only one issue, that being, there is no real problem with the “turf” (testing being limited to the manufactured “carpet”); however, only the turf fibers were tested, no other components were considered and that is where the potential problems truly do exist. A broader picture of this real problem is encapsulated below.

The issue is not lead in the new fields, only a few older fields had/have lead in the fibers.

  • -The lead content issue is a result of fields that were installed many years ago, made with nylon yarns.
  • -Currently, most all fields are produced with fibers that have low lead content levels and are of no concern.
  • -We use tested polyethylene fibers and yarns for our turf. The test results for lead on TargaPro’s EcoGreen66 Synthetic Turf are – 6 MG/KG as opposed to the standard of 85 MG/KG.

There are, in fact, three real issues:

1) Carcinogen runoff from the infill.

  • -Outdoor fields begin to gas off carcinogens at 120 degrees; indoor fields have no heat-driven issues.
  • -Cryogenic and ambient ground rubber, and silica sand, used for infill material may result in carcinogen runoff, gas off of harmful chemicals, and the heat island affect, when used on outdoor fields.
  • -TargaPro utilizes an Anti-Microbial Infill (AMI) called Organite™ as a non-carcinogenic, environmentally clean alternative exceeding all HIC values, G-Max and P-Max requirements, and contains no rubber.

2) Bacteria-harboring infill and bio-health related issues.

  • -Crumb rubber and sand mixed infills can harbor harmful bacteria that leave athletes subject to infection.
  • -TargaPro uses the Anti-Microbial Infill as a health agent also, killing bacteria on the molecular level addressing bio-health related issues.

3) Disposal of spent fields

  • The backings used for synthetic turf construction will become an issue related to landfill disposal of the fields following the typical 8 year guarantee. Urethane backings are not considered recyclable.
  • TargaPro’s EcoGreen66 Synthetic Turf uses a polyolefin, three layer-woven backing that attributes the entire system as 100% recyclable.