Synthetic turf industry members look to meet ASTM standards

Members of the recycled rubber and synthetic turf industries announced that they are jointly cooperating to ensure all synthetic turf and playground infills meet new ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) toy standards for heavy metals to further ensure safety for youth athletes.

ASTM International is the leading global standards organization, establishing industry-wide standards across a wide range of materials, including for all toys sold within the United States. With today’s announcement, all synthetic turf field and playground infill created and used by leading members of the Recycled Rubber Council, Safe Fields Alliance, and Synthetic Turf Council will comply with F3188-16, the Standard Specification for Extractable Hazardous Metals in Synthetic Turf Infill Materials. This comes in addition to products already meeting standards set by the European Union.

“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 Steve Bigelow, President of the Recycled Rubber Council. “We’ve chosen to voluntarily take this step to demonstrate our commitment to children safety, and we continue to welcome all further scientific-based testing and collaboration towards achieving these ends.”

“Today’s announcement simply reinforces our industry’s commitment to safety and transparency, which we have also made clear through our support of the current federal multi-agency study,” said Rom Reddy, Managing Partner of Sprinturf. “At the same time, it is important to reaffirm that based on dozens of reports, including peer-reviewed academic studies and federal and state government analyses, recycled rubber infill has no link to any health issues. Hopefully this will go one step further towards alleviating any concerns around this issue.”

“With the addition of F3188-16 to our industry guidelines for infill, we continue to take voluntarily steps to adopt key safety standards in the use of our products,” said Daniel Bond, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Synthetic Turf Council. “We are committed to adopting the most stringent of standards moving forward.”

Given the possibility for athletes participating in sports on synthetic turf playing fields to come into contact with or ingest particles of infill materials, through being in compliance with ASTM toy standards, members of the Recycled Rubber Council, Safe Fields Alliance, and Synthetic Turf Council are committed to delivering products where the levels of extractable metals—present at low levels within many everyday products—are within ranges deemed to be safe in children’s toys.