Artificial Grass

Does Artificial Turf Cause Cancer? We Examine the Claims and Research

It is undeniable that artificial turf offers a range of benefits, from requiring little maintenance to being able to be used year-round.

However, while it may provide an easy and convenient option for those who do not have the time or resources to maintain natural grass, there are still some potential health risks associated with its use over time.

Recent studies have shown that artificial turf can contain potentially hazardous chemicals, and it has been known to harbour bacteria and moulds that can cause skin irritations and respiratory problems.

Furthermore, the heat generated by artificial turf can be intense, causing heat exhaustion in players, and the materials used to manufacture it can cause skin abrasions and increase the risk of knee ligament injuries.

While it may be an attractive and practical choice, it is important to weigh up these potential risks before deciding whether artificial turf is truly the best option for your particular needs.

Does Artificial Turf Cause Cancer?

The debate on whether or not artificial turf is linked to an increased risk of developing cancer is one that has yet to be definitively answered. So far, the research that has been done on this topic has indicated that there is not a significant association between artificial turf and cancer.

However, the fact that a definitive answer has not been found should not lead people to assume that there is no chance of the two being connected. Rather, further investigation into this issue should be done in order to gain a better and more comprehensive understanding.

Until a definite conclusion is reached, it’s important that people do not forget to incorporate exercise and physical activity into their lives; they should not limit themselves due to such uncertainties. Additionally, they may also want to take precautionary measures such as washing off immediately after playing on the turf, and limiting their time outdoors when the weather is especially hot, in order to reduce their exposure to any potential carcinogens associated with artificial turf.

Research Conducted on Artificial Turf

Some research has been conducted to test whether the components of crumbed rubber can potentially cause cancer in people:

Report by Washington State Department of Health

Amy Griffin, the Women’s Associate Head Soccer Coach of University of Washington, was concerned about the seemingly high number of soccer players on her roster who had contracted cancer, leading to speculation that it may have been linked to the artificial turf.

Thus, public health researchers at the State of Washington conducted research in order to verify Griffin’s suspicion and determine the ramifications of continued physical activity on artificial turf.

The findings from the Washington State Department of Health showed that the rates of cancer among soccer players were actually lower than what would be expected for the general population.

Therefore, it was suggested that the soccer players should not stop their physical activity as the potential benefits associated with physical activity were greater than the potential risks of artificial turf.

Rutgers University Study

Recently, the Rutgers University conducted an unpublished research to test the artificial turf fields of New York City for components that could be hazardous to the health.

The research showed that the six carcinogenic PAHs present in the turf exceeded the mandated safety levels.

This alarming finding was further compounded when the researchers speculated that the results may have been manipulated by introducing solvents to lessen the harmful chemicals in the artificial turf, creating a false sense of safety.

This study sheds light on the potential dangers associated with artificial turf and serves as a reminder of the importance of taking precautionary measures, especially concerning environmental health.

Concerns Regarding Safety of Artificial Turf

Despite the fact that there is a lack of substantial scientific research behind artificial turf, the safety of its use continues to be under review.

No laws are currently in place that require any testing of the artificial turf products sold and purchased for playgrounds and fields. With the growing popularity of artificial turf, the need for more comprehensive evaluations of the potential health risks associated with its use is becoming increasingly urgent.

In order to make an informed decision about the safety of artificial turf, it is essential to consider the various studies that have been conducted to date, as well as the potential toxicity of the materials used.

Moreover, it is important to keep in mind that artificial turf has been shown to possibly pose some risks due to exposure to substances such as lead, zinc, rubber, latex and other chemicals.

For this reason, it is recommended that individuals discuss any concerns they may have with their healthcare provider prior to using artificial turf.

Does Artificial Turf Get Too Hot?

As the summer heat reaches its peak, the older models of artificial turf can become unbearably hot, leading to uncomfortable conditions if users come into contact with the surface.

This can cause friction-induced burns in especially active users, such as athletes and children alike.

Furthermore, the hardness of the artificial turf can put additional strain on the joints when skidding or sliding on the surface, due to the rubber infill material found in these outdated models of artificial grass.

For this reason, it is important to choose a turf option that keeps comfort and safety at the forefront of its design.

2017 Study of Turf Fields

In 2017, a test was conducted on 81 artificial turf fields in the United States. What was revealed was quite concerning: 47 of the fields failed the hardness score test with a score above 165.

Amongst those who failed, 10 were located in California, displaying an alarming level of hardness that posed a serious danger to athletes who would seek to play on these fields.

Falling onto these unforgiving surfaces could easily result in devastating, life-threatening injuries such as brain trauma, broken bones, and worse.

It is important, therefore, that all playing fields are regularly tested to ensure that they are safe for both professional and recreational athletes alike.

Poor Quality Turf is Prone to Weed and Bacterial Growth

Despite the fact that it does not need to be trimmed, the artificial turf environment can be highly conducive to the growth of weeds such as crab grass.

This then leads to the use of weed killers, which can pose various health risks. One of the most concerning bacteria found in artificial turf is MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

It possesses the ability to thrive and become dormant in the turf, and if someone slides across the surface and scrapes their skin, they can be exposed to the bacteria and potentially contract several serious illnesses such as sepsis, pneumonia and toxic shock syndrome.

To mitigate this danger, biocide is sprayed onto the artificial turf. While this provides relief from MRSA, it unfortunately also contains potentially harmful chemicals which can be hazardous to human health if consumed or inhaled.

Evidently, the presence of artificial turf can present a range of potential health risks if precautionary measures are not taken.

Understanding the Composition of Artificial Turf

Artificial turf is believed to pose health risks to humans and animals for a variety of reasons. The primary cause comes from the materials and chemicals used in its construction.

Artificial turf is typically made up of three components: synthetic fibers, infill, and backing. The synthetic fibers provide a surface that looks and feels like natural grass, while the infill consists of rubber granules or sand to provide cushioning and stability. The backing layer is designed to hold the entire system together and provide protection to the underlying surface.

Unfortunately, these components can also contain hazardous substances such as lead, mercury, asbestos, and phthalates, any of which could potentially have long-term negative effects on the health of humans and animals if they are exposed to them.

There is evidence that bacteria, mold, and fungi can grow in artificial turf due to moisture, heat, and other environmental factors. As a result, these organisms can be breathed in and cause a range of respiratory issues for those regularly exposed to the artificial turf.

  1. Fake Grass Blades: Fibers that look like actual grass
  2. Backing Material: The material that is used to keep the individual plastic blades in place
  3. Turf Infill: The material used to help support the plastic blades stand upright

The plastic blades on the artificial turf are tinted a vibrant, vibrant green, providing a visual appeal that enhances the overall aesthetic.

Nonetheless, the potential downsides of such an arrangement come from the outdated rubber infilling beneath the surface, which is often of a low-quality material and can degrade in quality over time.

To ensure that your artificial turf installation is going to last, take the necessary steps to find a high-quality rubber infill option that will not only hold up under regular use but also keep the grass looking lush and vibrant for years to come.

Why Not to Use Cheap Rubber Infill

Every year, over 20 million rubber tires are given a new life by being recycled into rubber infill for grounds and sports fields.

This rubber is made up not just of rubber from rubber trees, but also a special blend of petroleum-based products and natural latex that are crushed together to create the crumb-like texture.

Not only does this process help to keep millions of tires out of landfills, but it’s also beneficial for playing surfaces, providing cushion for athletes, making them safer and less prone to injuries.

As an added bonus, rubber crumbs are also more environmentally friendly than many other options, as they don’t contain potentially dangerous chemicals or toxins that could be hazardous to people, plants, and animals.

Having petroleum as a component of the cheap rubber infill, artificial turf contains many metals and chemicals such:

  • Zinc
  • Lead
  • Cadmium
  • Phthalates
  • 4 types of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs, including chrysene and dibenzopyrene)
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • Other harmful substances – many of these are considered to be carcinogens.

Our suggestion is to use high quality turf infill such as Envirofill which is made to a higher standard than rubber crumb infill.

It may be a more costly turf infill, but it is healthier for both humans and pets.

Cheap Crumb Rubber Infill Concerns

Although it may seem that crumb rubber has only large particles that are of no harm to people, as studies conducted by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment reveal, extended exposure is an issue. These particles break down into smaller pieces, tiny enough to be picked up by dust particles and carried above the ground and into the air, which can be inhaled by children, leading to further health risks such as cancer.

But besides a single instance of direct contact or ingestion, very little research has been conducted to measure its true harmful effects. It would be unethical to expose children to potentially carcinogenic substances just for the sake of experimentation, leaving the complete toxicity of crumb rubber in question.

It is clear, however, that chrysene, a known carcinogen, is found in these rubber particles, and any prolonged amount of contact could increase the chances of contracting various forms of cancer. To avoid this risk, it is important to limit exposure to the material, especially when it comes to those of a younger age. Taking extra precaution and vigilance in areas where crumb rubber is used is essential to ensuring the safety of those around it.