Artificial turf is made with several layers including plastic grass blades, plastic backing that holds the blades in place and infill that weighs down the turf and helps blades stand upright. Until recently, infill was always made with recycled rubber tires called crumb rubber. However, independent and Environmental Protection Agency testing found the material contains high levels of dangerous chemicals.
“It seems kind of nonsensical to put ground-up tires in a field where children are playing,” said Kyla Bennett, a former EPA official and director of science policy at Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Peer).
Some companies have begun using cork as infill, but industry has said the grass blades and backing cannot be made without PFAS.