By Chad Vander Veen
Purchase Green Marketing and Communications Manager
Artificial grass is awesome! We certainly think so and the customers we help everyday seem to agree! But like anything that is in such high demand, there are a lot people asking good questions. Whether on social media or in the news, people are curious about artificial grass. One of the questions we often hear is about crumb rubber – specifically people want to know what it is and whether it’s safe.
If you have questions about crumb rubber, well then it turns out you’ve come to the right place! Our mission at Purchase Green is to provide you with the best artificial grass options at the best prices. Part of doing that, we believe, is by helping to educate consumers about artificial grass systems and the components they contain. That’s why we created our Knowledge Base. It’s filled with tons of useful information about artificial grass.
When you install artificial grass, remember it’s not just the yarn you’re dealing with. You’re also installing a base material – usually road base or decomposed granite – to support the grass. And you’re also going to need an infill product to weigh it down and enhance the grass’s long-term durability and usability.
In many older applications, a commonly-used infill product is crumb rubber. So let’s look into what crumb rubber is and why Purchase Green doesn’t carry it.
CRUMB RUBBER PELLETS
Crumb rubber pellets are exactly what they sound like – tiny bits of rubber that are scattered across artificial grass to serve as both infill and a shock absorber. If you or your children have ever played soccer on such a field, you’re probably familiar with finding your cleats filled with those darn little pellets!
Because rubber is readily available by recycling tires, it has historically been used as infill for some artificial grass installations. It is not uncommon to find it used on many artificial grass sports fields. But just because crumb rubber has been used a lot, that doesn’t make it the best option.
You may have heard reports that crumb rubber has been proven to be unsafe. You may have heard the opposite. There have been various studies conducted on the safety of crumb rubber but at this point it would be premature to draw a conclusion either way.
Recently, Yale University wrapped up a study on crumb rubber that aimed to identify whether 96 known carcinogens were present in 14 samples of crumb rubber pellets university researchers tested. It turns out that some of the samples did indeed contain carcinogens. But the results of the study were that crumb rubber pellets used in some applications of artificial grass may contain carcinogens. The artificial grass itself does not.
The reality is that there are better, more advanced systems than crumb rubber. At Purchase Green we only carry the best products and crumb rubber is not the best product. Instead, we offer products such as HeroFill, which is made of a sub-rounded silica that is coated with a green acrylic so it blends into the turf. Its rounded shape makes it resistant to compaction. HeroFill infill inhibits growth of mildew and algae, controls odors and is Certified Prop 65 exempt. It works very well for residential lawns because it does everything crumb rubber does to ensure the durability and quality of artificial grass while being a much more natural and less costly alternative.
Like crumb rubber, people are genuinely concerned about lead in artificial grass. Unlike crumb rubber, we all know with certainty that exposure to lead is bad. Because we have definitive scientific evidence that lead is harmful, Purchase Green only sells products that are lead-safe and non-toxic.
While Purchase Green exceeds industry standards in virtually every respect, in general the “industry has pretty much cleaned up” the lead found in much older artificial grass products. This is according to Charles Margulis of the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland, Calif., who was interviewed by USA Today for a March, 2015 story on artificial grass and the potential for exposure to lead.
The Center for Environmental Health has tested artificial grass for lead. So have we. At Purchase Green you will find the results of independent lead tests that all of our products were subjected to.
SO…IS ARTIFICIAL GRASS SAFE?
Yes, artificial grass is absolutely safe. The artificial grass we sell is lab-tested in the United States and we post the results of those tests on our website. Our products are 100 percent safe for everyone, including children and pets.
So keep asking questions, keep educating yourselves and remember that Purchase Green will always be happy to help you understand the facts about artificial grass.