Many people who would otherwise be ready to pull the trigger on installing synthetic turf on their property are concerned that it might pose a risk to children and pets. We’ll take a look at the supposed risks in order to determine if synthetic turf truly is safe.
What Is Synthetic Turf Made Of?
Needless to say, the materials used in the production of synthetic turf will have a major impact on whether or not they’re safe. It’s worth looking into, then, what goes into the production of these artificial grasses. People are concerned about whether their children or pets will be exposed to dangerous chemicals whenever they play outside.
Essentially, synthetic turf is made from fibers that are designed to resemble real grass, which is then connected to a backing material. In this way, it can be installed onto a property in large sheets, which are easy to maintain and repair. The fibers themselves are usually made from extremely strong materials such as nylon, polyethylene, or polypropylene. The base that they are connected to is generally constructed from either flexible plastic pellets or crumb rubber, which is derived from used tires.
Are These Materials Harmful?
Nylon, polyethylene, and polypropylene are considered to be non-toxic materials for human use. Nylon is frequently utilized in the production of clothing, while polypropylene is used to manufacture the containers that certain foods, such as yogurt, are packaged in. As a result, polypropylene has been approved by the FDA as a material that is safe for humans and animals to be in frequent contact with. The other material commonly used in the production of synthetic turf is polyethylene. This material is used for squeeze bottles that people drink from, indicating it has also been declared safe for human and animal use as well.
While the materials used to make up the grass fibers are definitely safe, what about the backing material? As it’s made from used tires, people understandably have concerns that children and pets playing on artificial grasses may be exposed to the chemicals used in the production of tires. However, multiple studies have been performed with subjects, such as soccer players, who are in frequent contact with synthetic turf. These studies have indicated that the chemicals in the crumb rubber do not leech out and enter the bodies of those in contact with the artificial landscaping material.
From a materials standpoint, synthetic turf seems to be very safe for children and pets to play on and around.
What About the Risks of Impact?
Of course, there are other concerns arising from the safety of synthetic landscaping products besides materials ones. While real grass absorbs a lot of the impact from a person taking a fall onto it, does artificial grass do the same?
If it’s constructed correctly, by a professional company such as Sportech Construction & Excavation, synthetic turf can function as just as much of a shock absorber as natural grass. The key here is that it must be installed by a professional company with staff trained to ensure their products are safe to play on. The reality is that there are companies out there that don’t put the same effort into the safety of their installations. This can lead to tripping hazards from improperly installed turf, as well as artificial grass that isn’t especially impact-resistant.
Fortunately, companies like Sportech exist that can ensure artificial turf is installed in a manner that’s safe for children and pets to play on, without risk of injuring themselves due to the hardness of the ground below.
Is There a Risk of Overheating?
One major advantage that synthetic turf has over natural grass is that synthetic turf cannot be killed by the sun on a hot day. If the sun beats down on it for too long, a natural lawn will turn an unsightly brown color, ruining its beauty. Synthetic turf does not have this problem; however, it does bring with it concerns about overheating.
It’s true that artificial turf doesn’t absorb heat in the same way that natural grasses do. Real grass will always be cool to the touch as a result of the water content in it (of course, this won’t matter if the grass is completely dried out by the sun, as can happen on a particularly hot day).
Direct sunlight on artificial materials can definitely cause them to heat up, ultimately leading to issues with the grass being too hot. However, this is an easy enough concern to address. If it’s a particularly hot day, take a hose and wet down your synthetic turf. This will cool it enough to safely be played on and won’t take nearly as much water as a natural lawn does.
Getting Synthetic Turf Installed
As we’ve discussed, it’s critical to have a professional company install your synthetic turf to ensure that it’s safe. You’ll want to be able to communicate with your landscaping company, asking them any questions you may have about the safety of the materials they use. You’ll also be able to ask about their materials’ efficacy as a shock absorber and how to deal with it on hot days.
The best company for the job is Sportech Construction & Excavation. Few companies focus primarily on the installation of quality synthetic turf, so it’s a good idea to find one that does. Sportech has grown into what it is as a result of putting the customer and their needs first. We will be able to ensure that your synthetic turf is as safe as it can possibly be.