Recently, concerns about the safety of recycled rubber as a material for synthetic turf infill have raised questions about the future of the industry. Despite the fact that there’s been no evidence to suggest the material can be hazardous to athletes, the concerns remain.
Today, leaders within the synthetic turf and recycled rubber industries made an announcement they hope will help lay those concerns to rest.
In a press release, the Recycled Rubber Council, the Safe Fields Alliance and the Synthetic Turf Council announced that they would cooperate to ensure that all synthetic turf and playground infills meet ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) toy standards for heavy metals. Essentially, that means that the organizations will work to ensure that the products they deliver use materials with extractable metals (which are already present at low levels in many everyday products) at levels that the ASTM deems to be safe in toys for children.
ASTM International is a global standards organization. It extablishes standards to a wide range of materials that are adopted by entire industries, including all toys sold within the United States. Today’s announcement means that the organizations will voluntarily comply with the Standard Specification for Extractable Hazardous Metals in Synthetic Turf Infill Materials.
“Our industry firmly believes in taking proactive steps to augment ongoing testing by the federal government to reassure parents and policymakers that the fields and playgrounds children play on are every bit as safe as the toys they play with,” said Recycled Rubber Council president Steve Bigelow in the release. “We’ve chosen to voluntarily take this step to demonstrate our commitment to childrens’ safety, and we continue to welcome further scientific-based testing and collaboration towards achieving those ends.”
You can read the full release by clicking here.