Sustainable Arlington

An Envision Arlington committee & a Mass. Climate Action Network (MCAN) chapter

Folder Playing Fields, Artificial Turf & PFAS



default Artificial Turf References & Resources

Updated 02 13 2023

Topics:  Injuries, Health Hazards, PFAS, Illegal Dumping, Webinars

default Boston bans artificial turf in parks due to toxic ‘forever chemicals’

"All artificial turf is made with toxic PFAS compounds and some is still produced with ground-up tires that can contain heavy metals, benzene, VOCs and other carcinogens that can present a health threat. The material also emits high levels of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and sheds microplastics and other chemicals into waterways."

default Green & Open Somerville, Artificial Turf heat map, resources

Green and Open Somerville 2023

default Lower Extremity Injury Rates on Artificial Turf Versus Natural Grass Playing Surfaces: A Systematic Review

2022 May 20, Online ahead of print.

default MAKING THE VISIBLE INVISIBLE: The PFAS Project Lab with Alissa Cordner [recording]

Recorded March 23, 2023.  Click here to watch.

Alissa Cordner is an associate professor of sociology and an expert on PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). Corder is Co-Director of The PFAS Project Lab, an interdisciplinary group of faculty, post-doctoral scholars, and students affiliated with the Social Science Environmental Health Research institute at Northeastern University in Boston.

The Lab studies social, scientific, and political factors related to PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), while producing accessible research about PFAS contamination through collaborations with impacted communities.

pdf Per- and Poly-fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Artificial Turf Carpet [TURI]

The Toxics Use Reduction Institute, UMass Lowell, www.turi.orgis a multi-disciplinary research, education, and policy center established by the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act of 1989. The Institute sponsors and conducts research, organizes education and training programs, and provides technical support to help Massachusetts companies and communities reduce theuse of toxic chemicals.

default Toxic chemicals are found in blades of artificial turf

By David Abel Globe Staff, October 9, 2019

"Public health advocates have long raised alarms about artificial turf pellets, which simulate the give of natural grass but have been shown to contain benzene, cadmium, and other known carcinogens. Now, for the first time, a new series of tests has found that the blades, and their plastic backing, may also contain toxic chemicals ... known as PFAS. ... The findings have raised concerns about the safety of millions of square feet of artificial turf installed in recent years on public fields and playgrounds across the country."


"The samples of the blades that tested positive for fluorine were made by two different companies, Shaw Industries and Turf Factory Direct. ... 

PFAS chemicals are used widely to help with the molding and extrusions of plastic, according to a 2005 paper from the Journal of Vinyl and Additive Technology. The latest version of the synthetic turf, which is prized for its durability, is made with plastic polymers that are molded into the shape of grass blades when in molten form.

“When you extrude plastic, it’s like a cookie cutter,” explained Graham Peaslee, a professor of nuclear physics at the University of Notre Dame who has spent the last five years studying PFAS compounds. Without the PFAS, the rigid plastic used to make the turf durable clogged up the extruding machines that make the turf. ..."