Concerns have been raised over the possible presence of PFAS in synthetic turf fields. The PFAS substance group contains over 6,000 substances, some of which have been identified as toxic or hardly degradable. Linking the presence of PFAS in soil to synthetic turf is unjustified and premature.
PFAS are a broad group of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl chemical compounds that are used for their fire-resistant, dirt-repellent and water-repellent properties. They have been in use since the 1940s. PFAS are used in many everyday items such as paint, fire-fighting foam, non-stick pans, clothing, cosmetics and pizza boxes.
Due to the widespread use of PFAS, testing for the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds runs a high risk of cross-contamination and false positive results.
Manufacturers in Europe have to comply with standards, protocols and quantity restrictions legislated by the EU. Since 2006 they also have to comply with the REACH regulation, which addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impact on both human health and the environment.
Under REACH, companies using PFAS are required to have their negative impact on human beings assessed. They will only be allowed to use a PFAS when the substance is considered not harmful.
The ESTC is currently monitoring the debate and will update members and the industry once we have received additional information.