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  • The use of synthetic turf padding with the faux grass field is the better alternative to crumb rubber.
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Synthetic Turf Padding Makes Sports Safer

November 7, 2016

Many schools and colleges have switched to synthetic turf for their sports fields. Doing so has given athletes a reliable and safe surface where they can play. Unfortunately, some sports field managers have chosen to use crumb rubber infill instead of synthetic turf padding. This news has family members of high school athletes worried about just how safe is this infill material.

Crumb rubber has been in use for years, but some have brought up health concerns. The use of synthetic turf padding with the faux grass field is the better solution. This is safer for athletes, and not simply because it doesn’t lead to future health problems. Artificial grass with synthetic turf padding gives a more even and safe playing surface. As such, it helps to cushion and prevent falls.

Manmade grass also is less likely to get slippery in the rain because it drains well. For people looking for lead-free or non-toxic choices, contact the artificial grass experts, Watersavers Turf. We do not offer or promote crumb rubber. We stock non-toxic turf pads and organic infills.

Crumb Rubber & Artificial Turf 

Let’s look at what is involved in the making of crumb rubber. This will show why it was thought to be a good option for artificial turf infill. The product made in the US comes from recycled tires. These tires are ground down to ¾” chips. This removes up to 85% of the steel they contain. They are then run through a series of machines to get them to the desired final size.

The reason this material has been used on artificial turf in the past is that making it was cost-effective. It also seemed like a good way to recycle old tires. People already knew that artificial turf fields were good for the planet.

Fake grass fields don’t need to be watered, so our precious natural resource is saved. With less water being used for lawn care, it could be directed somewhere else. Being able to reuse old tires as turf infill seemed like another way to save the planet.

Another method for recycling tires, which costs more, is using liquid nitrogen. Because of this, it isn’t used often. The tires sent through a freeze tunnel where the liquid gas is added. This process makes the tires brittle. The frozen rubber is then broken into smaller pieces.

Healthier Faux Grass Options 

The fears about this type of faux grass came down to the idea that it might cause cancer. It isn’t a product of nature. As such, there have been concerns about whether it might be toxic. It turns out that there may be good reason to believe this.

NBC News recently reported an increase in cancer cases among soccer goalies that played on surfaces where it was used. The reason why goalies were most affected has to do with the nature of their role. Other players run back and forth across the field over the course of a game. Goalies, on the other hand, stay in one place. They tend to crouch down close to the field, breathing in the air in that one spot. Over time, this exposes them to the possible dangers of this material.

Due to these types of stories, many felt that there was a need for a safer faux grass option. The good thing is, such options are now on the market. One of the products used besides padding is plant-based infill. This infill is made from cork, coconut fibers, and rice and corn husks. It has been used worldwide in over 400 fields since 2007.

FIFA Tries to Protect Players

Pro sports leagues like FIFA have made an effort to use this playing surface to better protect their players. Schools have also decided to install them. This allows students to play sports without any health concerns. Its organic nature erases any worry a person might have about cancer-causing elements. The only drawback is that after playing on it for a while, it can become very compacted and without regular maintenance; it can be rather costly to remove.

Shock Pads and Lawn Pads—the Better Choice

Another option is to use shock pads aka lawn pads under the sports turf. This helps cushion falls and is a safer for athletes. It also is more cost effective than plant-based infill. 

As members of the SF Bay Area community, we know that no matter how big a role sports play in a child’s life, health and safety are more important. We wouldn’t want anyone we cared about playing on a field that could cause them harm years down the line.

That’s why we at Watersavers Turf offer a line of infill and padding products that are free of lead and crumb rubber. Please give us a call at 844-974-8873 to learn about our products. You can also stop by one of our seven locations to pick up free 1’ x 1’ samples. To get a free estimate online, click here.

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