Is Artificial Turf Safe For Kids & Pets?
As parents to our little ones, our top priority is always their safety. Their well-being is protected at all costs, even more than ours. We want them to grow healthy, well-rounded, and with love for themselves much as we have.
This is why the first thing we ask ourselves when we see artificial grass is… “Is artificial turf safe for my children?”
Is it, really? To understand this, we must first dig into the composition of artificial turf.
What is artificial grass made of?
Most artificial turfs are made of polyethylene. It’s the kind of plastic used to make children’s toys, grocery bags, and even bullet-proof vests. Polypropylene is also in the mix. This is commonly used for plastic utensils and microwavable containers. Nylon is also used for heat resistance.
Are these the materials that make artificial grass dangerous?
No. An article from The Washington Post written by Stuart Shalat, an Environmental Health Professor, discusses this topic. And we’re more than happy to give you his insights for your reference.
Shalat says, “Based on studies I have reviewed and conducted, I believe there is a potential health risk because of the chemicals in tires, which are recycled into crumbs to support the plastic blades of synthetic grass.”
What is artificial turf made up of?
As Shalat talks through, “Artificial turf is made up of three major parts:
- Backing material that will serve to hold the individual blades of artificial grass
- The plastic blades themselves.
- The infill, those tiny black crumbs, that helps support the blades.”.
What makes them harmful?
Shalat points out, “Various pigments are used to provide the green color of the blades. These can include lead or titanium for the white lines and still other metals for school logos on the field.
Those little black crumbs are the problems. Tires can be toxic.”
Is artificial turf safe for kids?
Yes, definitely! Crumb rubber made from the ground up recycled tires are the culprits that make artificial grass unsafe. These are the properties that give artificial grass such a bad reputation. The good news is: putting infill is optional. Also, there are no natural alternatives to it like crushed rocks. Artificial turf with toxic amounts of lead has also been discontinued by turf manufacturers. We’ll discuss these more in-depth in the later paragraphs.
What’s important now is that you know that generally, the artificial grass blades are safe for your kids. You can definitely have artificial turf at home without crumb rubber endangering your lives. However, there is some low-quality turf grass out there. We don’t know what they’re made of, and we can’t vouch for them either. If you want to be sure that your kids are safe, go for manufacturers that pride themselves for being non-toxic and lead- free.
Fortunately, there are brands that go above and beyond the general rule. By offering non-toxic, lead-free, toxin-free artificial grass, King Turf ensures not only your kids’ safety.
But yours as well.
Is Artificial Turf Safe for Pets?
Our furbabies aren’t so different from our tiny humans, are they? They’re all whiney poop machines who are constantly hungry for food and attention. But we love them all the same. If we could give them everything, we would. This is why we’re looking for answers. We wanna know that an investment as big as artificial turf won’t be any harm to them. And hopefully, they’ll benefit from it as much as we will.
The major health concern about synthetic grass of the past is lead exposure. Thankfully, in 2008, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) and major turf makers agreed to ensure artificial turf safety by freeing it from lead.
Another safety concern with artificial grass is the tripping hazard on uneven surfaces. This is also a problem with natural grass because you won’t be able to see uneven surfaces in a manicured lawn. The best thing about artificial turf is that if it is installed by a professional, you don’t need to worry about stumbling. You can be ~trippin’~ on your lawn instead.
Does artificial turf cause cancer?
Studies show no conclusive evidence linking fake grass to cancer. But why is there even such a discussion? What led people to believe that artificial grass can cause cancer?
Amy Griffin, associate head coach at the University of Washington, has worked with students for 24 years. In her speech, she described her experience with students and artificial turf.
She made a list of athletes who were diagnosed of cancer, and as of February 2019, that list has 260 names. 119 of them are goalkeepers. She says that since the beginning, goalies were always at 59-61% of the victims. It is thought that because goalkeepers are more in contact with the grass (they dive and slam their bodies on the turf) they are more prone to cancer.
Griffin acknowledges that “correlation is different from causation.” But, according to her list, the incidents of cancer rose as more playing fields of natural grass were changed to artificial turf fields (with crumb rubber infill.) This is the same rubber from the ground up recycled tires.
Griffin says that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is in charge of keeping residents of the United States safe from environmental factors. They’re the ones who said that rubber tires are toxic. People can’t throw them out, can’t bury them, can’t burn them either. It’s illegal.
The government taxed the tires so it can afford to safely collect them. They have to get the tires out of the environment to make sure that people won’t do anything stupid with them. But it soon became a problem for the places collecting these tires. They became overflowing with the stuff. They had no place to put the unsafe, toxic, dangerous wheels. They ended up sponsoring the growth of crumb rubber to solve the waste problem. The government subsidized communities using crumb rubber fields.
In 2014, the state of California used $6.1 million to “help” parks and recreational facilities using these crumb rubbers. It allegedly helped both their waste problem and the community. Or so they thought. They ground up recycled tires and broke them into millions of pieces, introduced them into our communities so the kids can play on trash
She continues to discuss the RCRA law (The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.) It is the law in charge of reducing the amount of waste generated and waste management. This law regulates toxic waste, but not its by-products. In turning tires into crumb rubber, different regulations apply.
Unfortunately, since these crumb rubbers when used as infill, get carried by waters to rivers, lakes, and coasts. They disappear into waterways, thus their disposal is not regulated. Not to mention the fact that these are so small that gushes of wind can definitely take portions of them. They get taken into the air—breathable by any human being in need of oxygen.
Don’t take their disposal into waterways lightly though! These crumb rubbers easily fit into mouths of fishes (that’s right! Fishes that we, human beings, eat!) and can potentially poison their aquatic environments. This poses a threat to all of us because if the water that we use every day is contaminated with toxic substances, we can definitely get sick. It may not always be cancer, but anything we do to plague the environment will definitely haunt us in some way.
What does crumb rubber infill have to do with cancer?
Hypothetically, these tiny pieces of rubber float in the air when the playing field is used by athletes. Much like dust resting on a book when you tap its cover, the dust spews into the air and into your lungs. Imagine a goalie diving to block a shot, rubber infill from underneath goes up in the air and into his face. He ingests them, or they stick to his skin. Since the rubbers are made from toxic materials, they negatively affect students and players on the field. No studies are yet to conclude this hypothesis. It’s only just that.
So why even risk it? You’re going to invest in your family time, picnics, and weekend activities. There’s no reason compelling enough for you to choose a known cesspool of toxic materials like crumbed rubber tires to lie on. Choose better materials, like quartz, sands and broken down stones.
Why is synthetic grass a cancer risk?
It’s not! If anything, the recycled tire rubbers being used for infill are the main suspects. Tires come from a mix of synthetic and natural rubber, carbon black (a petroleum-based material) and 4-10 gallons of petroleum products. Metals like cadmium, lead (neurotoxic! It’s harmful to your brain!) and zinc are also present. Some chemicals like dibenzopyrenes are also known carcinogens.
Even the chemicals the tires are exposed to during its life can also have a hand in its toxicity. 11 out of 92 chemicals found within crumb rubber have been identified as known or suspected carcinogens. Having this in your yard is a sure fire way to poison yourself. The good news is: infill is completely separable from synthetic grass! You can choose sand and broken down rocks instead!
So, is artificial grass toxic?
Generally, no. But of course, there is subpar quality synthetic grass in the market. These are dangerous! Fake grass is something you should get as far away from as you can! These can have amounts of toxins and lead. And since they’re fake, you have no guarantee that they weren’t made out of poisonous substances.
Are there synthetic grass in the market which are perfectly safe for you and your family?
Why yes, of course! You can do away with crumb rubber infill. You can drop unnecessary risks. Go for natural alternatives!
What is the best artificial grass for kids and pets?
King Turf offers toxin and lead-free products! Plus, it’s eco-friendly too! We don’t offer crumb rubber as infill; we go with sand and stone, which are all natural and already in the environment! Even if our infill gets blown away by harsh winds. Or driven by running water. You can sleep at night knowing that everything is okay for both your family and the world!
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The popularity of artificial grass is on the rise, particularly with ongoing drought conditions and the growing understanding of the many benefits of replacing natural grass with manufactured options.
One of the most appealing aspects of installing synthetic turf is that you have the look and feel of natural grass but never have to worry about brown spots, bare spots or having a brown lawn through the summer months. Another appealing aspect is that you get to have a beautiful lawn without the ongoing expenses of maintaining natural grass and without the ongoing mowing, seeding, edging, weeding, fertilizing, watering and aerating it takes to keep natural grass looking good.
There is no irrigation system to maintain, no mud, lower water bills and only occasional maintenance required.
With all of these benefits, it is no surprise that homeowners are choosing this option in growing numbers and that they are using manufactured turf for much more than just their front lawns.
10 Places Homeowners Use Artificial Grass
Here are 10 places homeowners commonly use manufactured grass in residential settings.
Artificial grass is definitely gaining popularity as a go-to choice for dog runs. There is no mud or ruts after rain, no wet blades of grass being tracked in the house, and no warm soil where fleas love to hang out. Additionally, it is easy to clean when used as a restroom area, and you will not have to figure out how to fit your lawn mower through the gate for a weekly mowing.
One of the biggest reasons for choosing fake grass for dog runs is that it provides a soft, grass-like surface where your dogs can play or lounge but does not get unsightly brown spots where your dogs urinate.
One consideration for using artificial turf in a dog run is that it can get hotter than natural grass on hot days or in direct sunlight. You can help counteract this by building your dog run under a shade tree, adding shade sails to provide shade for the grass and your dogs, or covering the dog run with a roof that provides your dogs with protection from sun and rain.
Synthetic grass is a great choice for play areas and offers a level, even surface with fewer tripping hazards. There is no mud or ruts after rain, and little feet will not track grass into the house. If pets share the space with your children, you are sure to appreciate that the Durafill infill used by Install-It-Direct does not allow bacterial spores to grow. When your pets use the area as a restroom, you can simply rinse it off or use a combination of vinegar and water to kill germs.
If you are concerned about the manufactured grass getting too hot under the glare of the South Florida sun, you can install your grass under a tree or use shade sails over the play area to reduce the amount of sunlight coming into the space.
King Turf also has the ability to add Hydro-Chill, which is a high-end infill sand that can help keep the turf cool for a lot longer AND helps eliminate pet odors and other foul odors that can occur.
Backyard Sports Fields
Homeowners choose artificial grass for backyard sports fields, such as soccer fields, for several reasons. For starters, fake grass provides a level playing field with lower risk of tripping when compared to natural grass. It is easier to care for, does not get muddy after rain and is ready for a pick-up game at a moment’s notice. As an added bonus, no mounds or divots in the grass means that your ball will take a truer path, which is nice for practicing your skills.
Front Yard Lawns
This is one of the most common uses for synthetic turf in residential settings, particularly now that the ongoing drought is making many homeowners rethink their natural grass lawns. While front yards are not used for play areas or pet areas as often as backyard lawns, a beautiful front lawn continues to be a status symbol and hugely popular in suburban settings. People want their front yards to look good, and artificial grass is one way to ensure that your lawn will always look green and lush regardless of the weather or mandatory water restrictions.
Of course, it is an added bonus that your lawn will look amazing without ever having to mow, fertilize, edge, seed, aerate or water it.
Homeowners want backyard lawns to enhance the visual appeal of their yards – just like front yard lawns; however, backyard lawns often serve additional purposes. For example, they are often play areas for children and pets, a restroom for dogs and a hangout space for guests. This means that backyard lawns need to look good, but they also need to be durable and a comfortable place to spend time.
Homeowners who opt for fake grass often do so because they know their lawns will always look lush and inviting, will require significantly less maintenance, and can readily withstand traffic from children, pets and guests. They never have to worry about brown spots from dogs or bare spots in high-traffic areas.
Synthetic turf is often used in walkways – either alone or in combination with paving stones. As mentioned above, manufactured grass can handle heavy traffic, which makes it ideal for use in pathways leading to play areas, outdoor living areas, swimming pools or gardens. Therefore, homeowners who love the look of natural grass but need something with better durability and lower maintenance requirements often choose artificial grass to provide an attractive, long-lasting ground cover for walkways.
Backyard Putting Greens
Both residential and commercial putting greens are often seen with artificial grass, which provides an easy-care, level playing surface that is always ready for some practice swings. There is no need to wait days for the soil to dry after it rains and no worrying about tracking mud and grass into the house after practice.
Using synthetic turf for a backyard putting green also gives you more flexibility for where you can fit your practice area. When you do not have to worry about how well your grass will grow in particular conditions, you can place your putting green where you have space, such as in a side yard that gets little sun or under a shade tree.
Outdoor Entertaining Areas
As with other uses for artificial turf, homeowners are choosing it for outdoor entertaining areas for its durability and visual appeal. Without ever having to push a mower or maintain an irrigation system, you can have an inviting, green lawn that will provide both a foundation and a focal point for outdoor entertaining.
An artificial grass lawn can withstand lots of traffic and provides the perfect place for everything from an afternoon tea party to a backyard movie night.
Landscaping around your pool with artificial turf allows you to have the look and feel of a natural grass lawn without worrying about dirt getting in the pool, pool chemicals killing your lawn or wet feet picking up blades of grass to track into your house. These are just a few of the reasons more homeowners are choosing synthetic grass for pool landscaping. Others include its low maintenance requirements and drought-friendly appeal.
No one likes to trudge up and down a hillside trying to pull weeds, prune trees or care for plants. When it comes to hillside landscaping, options that require the least amount of maintenance are the most convenient and time-saving choice, and it does not get much lower maintenance than artificial grass. While manufactured grass does require occasional raking and spraying down to stay clean and looking its best, the maintenance requirements are lower than most living ground cover options.
Artificial turf can also help control erosion, which makes it an even more appealing option for landscaping hillsides.
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The benefits of fake grass have been well-documented and publicized for years. But when it comes to installing fake grass, you should have all the facts up front. There are a few things homeowners who have made the switch before you wish they had known about the installation process. Those tips will help you avoid any confusion or problems that might pop up during your faux lawn’s installation.
How It Affects Property Values
For many homeowners that are interested in installing artificial turf with King Turf, one of the first questions is how will installing fake grass affect my property value?
This is an easy answer: Due to the ZERO-MAINTENANCE required and the fact that it looks amazing year-round, artificial turf will increase your property value.
This was a HUGE deciding factor among spouses when deciding to move forward with the project.
Prep Work Involved
Before we can install your new fake grass, the old grass has to go. Then the ground must be properly prepared. While this sounds straightforward, removing existing sod is a lot of work and it takes time. Most professional landscaping companies that work with artificial turf can complete the project in two or three days, depending on the amount of grass to be removed, the size of their crew, and how they approach the removal project.
Once the old grass is gone, the soil must be turned and smoothed to eliminate any dips or humps. Then the next phase of the project can begin. Welcome, fake grass!
Installing fake grass isn’t difficult, but it doesn’t happen overnight. For example, it can take 2 to 4 days to install 1,500 square feet of fake grass. The number of people working the project, their level of experience, and the weather all affects how long the installation will take.
Exact measurements must be made, and grass trimmed carefully to fit so there are no ragged edges. Ideally, installation should take place when temperatures are above 50o F. In cooler seasons, this may eliminate early-morning work, which could extend overall installation time. If all goes smoothly, your new lawn can be in place in a couple of days.
The last thing you want is an installation contractor who makes a mess and walks away. You can be sure that won’t happen with King Turf’s experienced and professional installers. We will remove and properly dispose of any leftover turf once your project is completed. And we’ll leave your yard looking at least as inviting as it was before we arrived on the scene.
One thing to keep in mind, though. The messiest part of our job is removing existing sod. If the weather is very dry, this process will inevitably kick up dust. We do everything we can to mitigate that, but if conditions are dry during your installation, you might want to keep your windows closed.
Installing fake grass is an investment. It can seem expensive when you first look at the price tag. But you have to consider the long term, just as you do with any major investment. You’ll have only miniscule maintenance costs, and you can amortize the initial cost of fake grass over the many years you will enjoy having it in place. This transforms your major expenditure into a superior investment that delivers an undeniable financial and functional return.
Your landscaping gets a beautiful upgrade. You get less yard work. Your property gets a boost in value, thanks to that improved curb appeal and lack of future maintenance. Studies have shown that homes with fake grass not only bring higher prices, but they also sell faster than homes with maintenance-intensive natural grass lawns. And why not? What prospective home buyer wouldn’t be excited about a better looking yard that requires less work?
Meanwhile, knowing what it takes to install your new faux lawn will make the process go exactly as expected. Nice grass, by the way!
What About Pests In The Lawn?
Another deciding factor for MANY homeowners was that because artificial turf isn’t a natural environment for any type of pests, this eliminates the desire for any pests to make your lawn their home!
Can you imagine… No ants, no fleas or ticks, absolutely ZERO bugs in your yard
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