Synthetic grass or "astro-turf" as it's also known, is currently under a bit of scrutiny after some recent studies have found a potential link between an unusual high number of players & ex-players getting cancer after playing on the artificial surface, read below and stay tuned to this blog as we will update it with the latest info as we get it.
Looking at synthetic turf? Maybe think again:
In 2014, NBC looked into the potential link between the rubber crumbs used in artificial turf and female soccer players getting cancer. The broadcast focused on Amy Griffin, associate head coach for the University of Washington’s women’s soccer team. Griffin, in her words, has discovered “a stream of kids” that have played on artificial turf and soon gotten cancer. Griffin has compiled a list of 38 American soccer players–34 of them goalies–who have been diagnosed with cancer. At least a dozen played in Washington, but the geographic spread is nationwide. Blood cancers like lymphoma and leukemia dominate the list.
America is currently undertaking some re-evaluating of the value of turfgrass. Most notably, this includes a program to reduce water use on lawns and the rejection of synthetic sports fields.
The Californian Government’s ‘Cash for your Lawn’ program, which aimed to reduce water usage on turf lawns, will be independently evaluated against other water saving initiatives and assessed against its unintended environmental impacts. These included the net effect on carbon sequestration and increases in erosion & runoff. The evaluation is likely to show the ‘Cash for your Lawn’ program was not cost effective and there are other, more cost efficient and environmentally beneficial, initiatives available to California law makers to reduce water usage.
Elsewhere in America, including Virginia and Connecticut, legislation is currently being drafted which may result in the banning the installation of synthetic sports fields in public parks and at schools. This is in response to a series of health concerns raised over the use of crumbed rubber as an infill in synthetic sports surfaces.
While it is likely the synthetic grass industry, with the backing of the petroleum industry will fight any such legislation becoming law, there is enough community concern and examples of poor health outcomes associated with synthetic surfaces that community attitudes towards the surface may have already changed. There are examples of public resistance to synthetic grass being used in public areas, particularly school sporting fields and areas used by children.