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Artificial Turf

Selecting Safer Alternatives for Athletic Playing Fields

When municipalities, universities, schools and other institutions consider what type of athletic playing fields to install, they sometimes face a decision among natural grass, artificial turf with crumb rubber infill and artificial turf with other forms of infill.

TURI’s report, Athletic Playing Fields: Choosing Safer Options for Health and the Environment, provides information on materials used in artificial turf as well as information on organic management of natural grass.

TURI has also created the video "Safer Alternatives for Athletic Fields," a fact sheet and a webinar to help organizations make informed decisions. 

TURI’s research has focused primarily on artificial turf infills, but it is also important for decision-makers to research other components of the turf system, including the artificial grass fibers. All these components can have health and environmental impacts.

TURI Sports Turf Alternatives Assessment

More detailed information is available in TURI’s sports turf alternatives assessment, which includes a cost analysis, information on heat and injuries, and detailed information on the chemicals found in three types of infill: tire crumb (crumb rubber), EPDM, and TPE. To address data gaps in the existing literature, TURI has contracted with a laboratory to do additional testing.

Other Turf Resources Available

The TURI Library’s Artificial Turf resource guide provides links to reports, articles and press reports related to artificial turf. TURI also prepared comments on a recent study by the Washington Department of Health.

Learn about research by the federal government on the health and environmental effects of using recycled tires in playing surfaces, including athletic fields as well as children’s playgrounds.

Springfield Uses Organic Natural Grass for Playing Fields

The City of Springfield, Mass. is using organic land care practices on school properties and 900 acres of public land and athletic fields. See the results in the video of the Forest Park athletic field. See more organic care resources.