Synthetic Turf, Artificial Grass or Stepford Lawns ?

Recently there has been a large movement towards installing synthetic turf. This new generation of Astro Turf often called ‘eco turf’’, is being touted as the newest in green landscaping. To be sure, there is an impressive list of ecological concerns that this turf addresses including the elimination of the need to mow, water, install irrigation, control weeds, fertilize or haul away grass clippings.

The latest synthetic turf is even made from recycled plastic and is recyclable at the end of its life. It is true that you can play on it in the rain and it won’t get muddy and it is wheel chair accessible. That looks like we have solved a bunch of issues all with one product, so what’s not to like?

Synthetic turf

Stepford Lawns =  pseudo green product

Remember the part in the movie, The Stepford Wives where one of the Stepford wives gets stabbed and it messes with her wiring and she starts repeating, “I thought we were friends, I thought we were friends” ? That’s what I imagine synthetic turf is saying when I stab it with my accusations of being a pseudo green product. Like my friend Owen Dell would say, it’s kind of like organic heroin, organic or not it is still fundamentally a bad idea.

I’ll start with the deceptively simple argument that my primary distrust of synthetic turf is based on the fact that it is not alive. It does not breathe and therefore it offers no oxygen as a byproduct. On a hot day plastic turf smells like, well, plastic.

I have ridden my bicycle past synthetic playing fields on a warm day and the whole neighborhood reeks of melting off-gassing plastic. Not an enjoyable smell. It certainly is not aromatherapy. Again because the stuff is not living and breathing, the cooling effect is absent and thus the phenomenon known as the heat island effect is increased. The ‘Heat island’ refers to urban air and surface temperatures that are higher than those of nearby rural areas.

The images below comparing air, water, bermudagrass, sand, asphalt, and synthetic turf surface temperatures illustrate how hot a synthetic field can reach during a warm day.

Synthetic Turf copy.jpg

Guinea Kids

Synthetic turf often includes crumbled automobile tires to mimic the look and feel of soil. Cool, a new way to recycle tires? The problem is that this soil is dead and, in addition, during rain it leaches chemicals such as cadmium. This leachate is considered toxic runoff. Where does it go? Straight into our rivers, creeks and oceans. Our kids are now expected to play on a low level toxic surface. During strenuous activities they breathe in these toxic off gasses. Because plastic is not an inert substance, it both leaches and off-gasses pieces of itself. Plastics are known to contain xenoestrogens (zeno estrogens) that are endocrine disruptors. Exposure to xenoestrogens, which are found in pesticides, plastics and other industrial chemicals has been linked to breast and ovarian cancers in women and to decreased testosterone levels and prostate cancer in men. The damaging effects have been found in birds, fish, reptiles, rodents and humans. Exposure to even small amounts of environmental endocrine disruptors concern scientists because hormones such as estrogen act in the body at very low levels measured in parts per billion. This endocrine disruptor, xenoestrogen, can wreak havoc with the puberty cycle in the human body. With synthetic turf, there is direct and close contact with the lungs and skin of the growing bodies of children. This would not seem to me to be a great combination. When will we know if there is a detrimental effect on human health from synthetic turf? Unfortunately the jury is out and won’t report back for years to come. Just call our kids guinea kids.

Soil Food Web Deprived of Oxygen

Synthetic turf lawns are one more non-porous surface that disallows rain to soak into the soil. This causes some serious drainage problems. Because of the toxic runoff and drainage issues, this is a product that is not healthy for the watershed.  I interviewed a worm regarding this product and it was none too happy about it to say the least. The soil food web, the vast ‘web’ of life in the soil beneath our feet is under extreme duress under synthetic turf, primarily because this soil is deprived of oxygen. No oxygen, no life. Much of the current product being installed today in playing fields is made from virgin plastic, a petroleum product that adds to global warming in its manufacture.

Our Children’s Trust

Our children trust that we are providing them with a safe place to play. Our challenge is to live up to that trust amidst all of the marketing hoopla about synthetic turf. It is easy to be fooled by the alluring language of this supposed ‘green’ product.

Ken Foster

About ken

126 Comments

  • |you have a great blog here! would you like to make some invite posts on my blog?

  • Hey There. I found your blog the usage of msn. This is an extremely well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to read extra of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return.

  • Rachel says:

    My son’s school just put in artificial turf on the playground a few weeks ago. Last week, he was playing, said his back was itchy, and within moments, he couldn’t breathe, and went into anaphylactic shock. We had no idea what caused it. The ambulance came, and he was okay, so he came home, had dinner, and was totally fine.

    The next day, at the same time of day, he was playing on the artificial turf, and it happened AGAIN. He wasn’t eating the same foods, and had been totally fine in between. The turf/playground is the only thing in common in both situations. We are getting him allergy tested this week, to see what he could be allergic to, but we think it’s the chemicals coming off the turf in the hot Arizona sun.

  • seo services says:

    2622662064460445316814194922 22614853222630487 seo 67671190212522563206 company 1922297366611415. 0226622 seo firm 145381953123173 green 63 226685269433436969842279417162 seo company 62214522 4878070420168537113 45860.04956 :)

  • I am extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as
    with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?
    Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one today.

    my blog :: ??? ??? ???????

  • Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your web site and in
    accession capital to assert that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your blog posts.

    Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feeds and even I
    achievement you access consistently fast.

    Feel free to surf to my webpage ?? ???? ?????? ???

  • UGG ???? ?? says:

    Hello, i think that i saw you visited my weblog thus i came
    to “return the favor”.I am attempting to find things to enhance my website!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

    my website: UGG ???? ??

  • Plays kill some monsters, plus they will uncover out a box carrying
    armor. This will make little difference and there’s no sense
    in traveling across Azeroth to a different continent to complete just
    one quest for a new piece of armor or weaponry. There
    are certain things to always look for when drafting.

    Feel free to surf to my site … Free Hearthstone Beta Key

  • hack dofus says:

    ” This proverb reflects the Danish people’s superiority
    complex in their silver products. For example, 9 red roses, 9 yellow roses, and
    9 pink roses may be the warmest present in winter.
    In fact, polite refuse could also win the respect of people around you.

    Also visit my page hack dofus

  • Constance says:

    Thanks , I have just been searching for information approximately this topic for ages and yours is the
    greatest I’ve discovered till now. However, what in regards
    to the conclusion? Are you sure in regards to the source?

    Visit my blog post: clash of clans hack gems (Constance)

  • webpage says:

    We accepted Paypal, Western Union, Money – Gram and Moneybookers, ship by EMS, TNT, Fedex, UPS, about 5 days to get the address you want.
    There are cases in which a private Internet forum
    will work better than a public blog is communication
    between a specific group of people is required. Maybe, but there are a few considerations to ponder before making up your mind.

    Also visit my web-site … webpage

  • Click here to download it from their official website or just click here to just download it from this article.
    Tony Tamasi, senior vice president at Nvidia, says the PS4 is easily
    outperformed by graphics cards from last year. However, some
    fan-favorites like Golden Sun will not run very well.

    Look into my homepage Wii U Emulator

  • Valuable info. Lucky me I found your site by chance, and I’m shocked why this coincidence did not happened in advance! I bookmarked it.

  • Incredible, amazing web site composition! The time have you ever been writing a blog intended for? you will be making running a blog view uncomplicated. The full seem of your web site is wonderful, aside from this content!

  • Garcinia Cambogia and 5-HTP are additionally both accurate to supress
    appetence by allowance in the assembly and absolution of seretonin.
    That way, you’ll have more of a chance of finishing.
    Many females aren’t keen on the truth that they will gain weight if they give up using tobacco.

    Review my web-site; Pure Garcinia Cambogia

  • These are just some of the many green coffee bean benefits you can get from ingesting supplements that contain such.
    Chlorogenic acid helps to improve or increase your metabolism.
    A source for pottery kitchen storage ( and spice sets ( is Henry Watson Pottery ( located in
    Suffolk, England.

    my page – Pure Green Coffee Bean Extract

  • I like the valuable info you provide in your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly.
    I’m quite sure I’ll learn a lot of new stuff right here!

    Good luck for the next!
    http://sbiblio.com/biblio/archive/daft_uprreshsecrusp/

  • What’s up, after reading this amazing post i am too cheerful to share my
    know-how here with friends.

  • You are really a just right webmaster. The website loading velocity is amazing. It seems that you are doing any distinctive trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterpiece. you’ve performed a magnificent job on this topic!

  • I’d appreciate to retire where air conditioning is not needed, and a dog park with benches is nearby.

  • I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you make this website
    yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
    Plz respond as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to know where u got this from.
    cheers

  • ???????????? says:

    We stumbled over here different page and thought I might check
    things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look
    forward to going over your web page again.

  • video bokep says:

    Thank you regarding revealing the following with all of us you will recognize what you really are discussing! Saved as a favorite. Remember to also contact my website =). We could employ a web page link trade commitment amongst people

  • The very game consists towards group of wild birds attacking green pigs who’ve taken your eggs.

    Time sensitive and reveal a personal Clash from
    Clans crack system presently. In still another sense, it’s “as
    if” these “Liberal Progressives” are being DIVINELY DISCIPLINED,
    in their “altruistic” hedonism,” their “quid pro quo” BASTARDIZATION of the INTRINSICALLY-ROOTED
    SACREDNESS of the Moral Law, which they only wish to selfishly, instrumentally, and “Epicureanly” EXPLOIT; even despite the fact that their characteristic interpretation of its actual content is otherwise so much more conveniently accurate, in many vital ways, as
    well as so much more ABOMINABLY PERVERTED, in various
    other ways, than that of the “Christianly Republican Stoics” who are being permitted to so overwhelmingly oppress them with a classically, demonically Roman Catholic counterfeit of
    God.

  • Its such as you read my thoughts! You seem to understand a lot approximately this, such as you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you simply can do with some percent to power the message home a bit, however instead of that, that is excellent blog. A great read. I’ll definitely be back.

  • natural says:

    Admiring the dedication you put into your site and detailed information you offer.
    It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed information. Wonderful read!
    I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my
    Google account.

Leave a Reply

Get a Free Estimate Today Let's Make Your Yard Beautiful!