No to microplastics shed by synthetic turf

Many residents and local community groups are concerned about microplastics washing up on our local beaches. They spent time volunteering to clean our beaches and reduce plastics in our community.

Have you considered the microplastics shed by synthetic turf from degradation over time due to exposure to sunlight and abrasion from use and maintenance? Those microplastics end up in our watersheds, in the soils and even up into air currents. Microplastics are of major concern worldwide. 

“In Sweden, synthetic sports fields are believed to be the second-highest contributor of microplastics into waterways, with only “road wear and abrasion of tires” dispersing more of the stuff via roadway runoff. And that’s actually a reduction—officials in that country previously recognized the issue and took steps to mitigate it —yet researchers still believe there are hundreds of kilograms of microplastics emerging from each field. In Norway, one researcher found microplastics in 85% of the soil samples collected from the bottom sediments of streams near artificial-grass pitches. In the US, there is relatively scant research on this topic.”

Repurposing of used rolls of plastic grass compounds concerns about microplastics and PFAS shed from used synthetic turf:   At the end of its useful lifetime as athletic turf, some synthetic grass is purchased for reuse by airports, paint ball facilities, golf driving ranges, playgrounds, homeowners for their yard, etc.  “It’s not going to the landfill, its being repurposed,”   is the positive spin put on repurposing. But used turf is degraded plastic, exposed to sun and abrasion as athletic turf, and continues to shed microplastics and PFAS wherever it goes. Repurposing is spreading the microplastics and PFAS around more, is spreading the problem to yet more places.  And who knows what will happen to all that turf once it has worn out and needs to be replaced?   

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mel-tIUQImY&feature=youtu.be

https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-artificial-grass/?action=click&module=Science%20%20Technology&pgtype=Homepage