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FieldTurf responds on rubber infill safety
Artificial turf industry leader, FieldTurf has issued an emphatic response to news articles questioning the safety of rubber infill used on synthetic surfaces as published in Sydney's The Sun-Herald newspaper on Sunday.
In a letter to industry stakeholders, FieldTurf Vice President - Global Marketing Darren Gill writes:
"With well over 15,000 sports and landscape installations, FieldTurf is the world's most trusted brand of artificial turf and has steered a high growth industry in the proper direction by setting the strictest of environmental standards.
"As the popularity of synthetic turf escalates, so has scrutiny about its usage. Over the past couple of years, natural grass pundits have raised questions about synthetic turf's potential negative impact on the environment.
"Reports surrounding the environmental safety of artificial turf may, on the surface, be alarming.
"However, simply put, artificial turf is safe and the science is there to prove it. While FieldTurf acknowledges the concerns of the groups behind these initiatives, the truth is that their questions have already been answered. Volumes of research and testing from academics, federal and state governments around the world, and school systems have examined everything called into question about synthetic turf. In nearly every case, their conclusions suggest synthetic turf poses no health risks. One has to wonder that with all its fertilizers, pesticides, use of water and carbon emitting lawnmowers, would natural grass fare as well under similar scrutiny?
"Synthetic turf is, and has always been safe. There is no legitimate scientific or medical evidence that synthetic turf poses a human health or environmental risk.
"Crumb rubber, made from reclaimed tyres, is an important part of the industry's premiere infill option for synthetic turf fields. It has been safely used in many products since being introduced in the early 1990s, and in playgrounds and tracks for much longer. The notoriously resilient SBR rubber material provides enhanced durability and cushioning to prevent injuries and keeps playing surfaces safe. Aside from its use in synthetic turf sports fields, crumb rubber is also used in a variety of products from children's rubber toys to surgical gloves to food packaging, and even in chewing gum.
"With the growing popularity of synthetic turf, questions have surfaced about the safety of the little black rubber pellets that protect our athletes. Hundreds of studies have been completed to discover the truth about any potential risks of artificial turf and its components. Government health ministries and environmental bodies around the world have commissioned extensive research. So have world health organisations, leading universities and independent scientific committees. Elected officials have reacted to the concerns of their constituents by commissioning studies to get the facts. But certain headlines reveal the tactics being used by some with a different agenda. They do not report the truth. The research has been done. The studies exist."
Gill goes on to highlight "what the experts have to say in independent testing, studies and reports on the potential health and environmental impact of artificial turf", referring to:
• Tests comparing samples of artificial turf infilled with rubber showed similar release rates to control samples without any infill material.
• Tests show no VOC in tire factories to be in excess of those found in the ambient air levels. There is clear scientific evidence that release of PAHs into the environment is negligible relative to other sources such as cooking, power generation, wood stoves or vehicular traffic. Neighborhood Sunday BBQs release more volatile compounds into the atmosphere than the local artificial turf fields.
• In the event of ingestion of crumb particles, although highly improbable, the particles do not present any toxicity, as the digestive system is not powerful enough to extract the chemical components from the rubber.
• Tyre waste has no toxic influence on fauna and micro-aquatic organisms. Inhaling is practically negligible because crumb rubber does not give off volatile products. Direct contact with the skin does not present any real danger, even from the point of view of allergy. Biological tests have shown the absence of genotoxicity.
• Artificial turf represents .0000075 of the rubber worn off tyres on our roads. If this is a concern, why are we not doing anything about the 99.9999925 part of the problem?
Gill concludes "the results of a long-term study confirms that the rubber granules used in the construction of artificial turf fields pose absolutely no threat to the environment."
For a listing of studies carried out and a collection of the actual research and the factual conclusions, Gill refers to documents that can be accessed by clicking on the link below.
FieldTurf are represented in Australia by Melbourne-based Turf One Pty Ltd.
23rd January 2012 - ARTIFICIAL TURF BEAT UP FAILS TO HIGHLIGHT ALTERNATIVES
22nd January 2012 - MEDIA ‘BEAT UP’ ARTIFICIAL TURF: SYNTHETIC GRASS
17th April 2011 - NORTHBRIDGE FC SYNTHETIC SURFACE BEATS SYDNEY RAIN
17th November 2009 - BLATTER: ARTIFICIAL TURF IS THE FUTURE
3rd November 2008 - SPORTS LAUNCH CRITERIA FOR ARTIFICIAL TURF
28th August 2008 - FIELDTURF FIRST
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