Synthetic Turf (Tufted Polyolefin Backing, TPE + Sand Infill)
This information reflects our best understanding of product composition in 2020.
Synthetic turf can be used as a replacement for natural grass for landscaping and athletic field surfaces. Its composition is similar to that of carpet. The artificial grass fibers are generally made from polyethylene, polypropylene, or nylon. The...
More about Synthetic Turf (Tufted Polyolefin Backing, TPE + Sand Infill)
Synthetic turf can be used as a replacement for natural grass for landscaping and athletic field surfaces. Its composition is similar to that of carpet. The artificial grass fibers are generally made from polyethylene, polypropylene, or nylon. The fibers are either woven into or tufted through a mesh fabric backing. In the tufted method, fibers are secured in place with a secondary backing, or coating. Depending on performance requirements, additional backing layers can be applied to the secondary backing, but these are beyond the scope of this Common Product (CP). The secondary backing may have holes punched into it to allow for water drainage (perforated) or it may be composed of a woven geotextile backing that is melted onto the primary backing (non-perforated). This CP covers products intended for use in athletic fields with a perforated backing.
Additional components may be added to the turf, such as a fiberglass scrim to reduce stretching, or creep, and shock absorbing underlayments. Though not covered by this CP, each additional component has potential to introduce additional hazards. Athletic fields also have a base system composed of materials such as crushed aggregate and a drainage system. These systems will vary depending on native soil conditions and are beyond the scope of this CP.
Synthetic turf typically requires the use of infill materials, which are small granules that are added on top of the backing to keep the fibers upright, add weight, and provide cushioning. The amount of infill applied to the turf can vary from less than one lb/ft² to over nine lbs/ft². It is common to mix sand and other synthetic infills. Both the weight of infill and the mix ratio will vary by the application. This CP covers synthetic turf intended for athletic fields, containing infill weighing about 6 lbs/ft² and composed of 50% thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) and 50% sand by weight. TPE infills can use a wide range of chemistries. A detailed description of the types of products considered for this CP can be found here.
Synthetic turf panel seams are either glued or sewn together, or they may be attached using hook and loop fasteners. Adhesives used during installation may add additional hazards that are not covered by this CP. Likewise, this CP does not consider any treatments that are applied to the turf, which could add additional hazards. For example, optional biocide treatments are available to protect against mold, mildew, or algae. Outdoor surfaces would likely not require such a coating because exposure to sunlight would likely be sufficient to kill these microorganisms. None of the sources indicated that a stain resistant treatment was applied to the fibers, similar to the PFAS treatment typically seen in carpets, although one source sampled turf fiber and identified the presence of PFAS. PFAS can be used as an anti-stick agent in equipment used in the extrusion process for the fibers, so some residual PFAS may be present in turf fibers as a result.