Alleviating Concerns About Synthetic Turf

There are many reasons organizations choose to add synthetic fields. They can increase the amount of programming you can get out of your field, reduce your use of precious resources, and are simpler to maintain. But some parents and groups raise concerns when their parks and schools choose to go synthetic. Knowing how to address those concerns up front—and finding a manufacturer whose products will alleviate problems—will help you get your project off on the right foot.

Q: We're planning to add synthetic turf, but a local group has expressed concern about the rubber infill.

A: There is some concern about the leaching of the tires that are used in making the crumb rubber that is used as infill on most synthetic turf fields. The rubber often flies out during play, and parents and environmental groups are concerned that children may ingest these particles. Even if the particles are proven completely safe, some parents will still complain about the mess.

You can find a solution that eliminates this possibility. One manufacturer makes a field that uses 150,000 less pounds of infill on an average field, and the field is designed so there is no flyout. This design, which maximizes the "grass" and minimizes the infill, also creates a more stable surface, reducing injuries.

Q: Some parents are worried that during the summer months, the fields will be too hot for play.

A: Some studies have shown that the surface of synthetic turf fields can reach scorching hot temperatures during the height of day in hot summer months. The good news is that when you limit the amount of infill that's exposed to the sun's rays, you also limit the amount of heat that will build up on the field.

Q: What else should we look for?

A: You don't want to end up with standing water on your field. You can find synthetic turf systems that feature a drainage and shock attenuation blanket, along with drainage technology that helps move the water away from your field.

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