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November/December 2009

Synthetic Turf Fibers

Two separate events have led to the development of a new ASTM International standard on lead content in turf fibers. First, after lead was found in some synthetic turf fields in 2008, field owners and turf suppliers were confused as to the proper procedure for measuring the lead content in the fibers. Different test procedures would yield different results so there was need for a standardized procedure.

Next, an announcement by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission stated that, while several synthetic turf fields had been tested and found to be safe for children to play on, the turf industry was being asked to remove all intentionally added lead from turf fibers. The industry would need a standard to show that they had voluntarily complied with the CPSC request.

The result of these two events is the development of F2765, Specification for Total Lead Content in Synthetic Turf Fibers. The new standard is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee F08.65 on Artificial Turf Surfaces and Systems, part of ASTM International Committee F08 on Sports Equipment and Facilities.

“This standard can be used to verify that the fibers in synthetic turf do not contain intentionally added lead,” says Phil Stricklen, director of research and development, Sportexe, and a member of Committee F08. “Fiber producers can test their incoming raw materials and fiber products to assure that they do not contain lead other than that naturally occurring lead in the environment.”

Stricklen says that potential users of F2765 include test laboratories that may be asked to analyze synthetic turf fibers for total lead content, owners and producers of synthetic turf fields produced after Sept. 1, 2009, who can use the standard to verify that the yarn used to make their fields was produced without lead-based raw materials, and synthetic turf fiber producers who can use F2765 for validation testing of the lead content in their products.

With the completion of F2765, another task group has been formed in F08.65 to address the environmental and health issues related to synthetic turf infill materials. Stricklen notes that the current generation of synthetic turf uses materials between the artificial grass blades that cushion the falls of people playing on the turf.

“The task group on synthetic turf infill materials would welcome input from anyone with expertise in extraction techniques and evaluation of environmental and human health risk assessment,” says Stricklen.


Technical Information: Phil Stricklen, Sportexe, Calhoun, Ga.

Phone: 706-624-9680

ASTM Staff: Christine Sierk

Phone: 610-832-9728