Installing artificial grass in children playgrounds is increasingly becoming popular at homes and in schools. Many people prefer this grass because it’s soft but durable enough to withstand all sorts of games. It‘s also a godsend to caretakers since cleanup is so much easier as children are not exposed to grass or mud stains as they play. Further, the lawn can be used all year round with very little maintenance.
Why People Are Concerned
Despite the popularity of fake grass, there is a lot of concern of potential negative health effects it may have on children. Preliminary studies show that fields made from such grass could expose children to health problems since most of it is made from fake tires which contain dangerous toxins. Children are especially at risk because they constantly fall when playing and some of them ingest dangerous substances from the rubber which has been linked to cancer and nervous system diseases. According to allergy specialists, the heavy metal present in crumb metal which makes the grass, can vaporise exposing it to people close by. Children are more likely to be affected because:
- They are closer to the grounds which are a source of toxins.
- Since their ventilation rate is higher than that of grownups, they tend to inhale a larger amount of the harmful gasses
- Many of the fields that contain artificial grass are in schools or playgrounds where children constantly play.
- Children are likely to get injured by extreme heat exposure from the fields made of rubber since they aren’t able to control the temperature of their bodies as well as grownups.
What Parents Should Do About It
Parents need to reach out to groups with similar concerns such as nursing organisations, medical societies and elected officials. They then need to form alliances with these groups to fight installation of fake grass that has not been tested. If such a field is already in place, they can protect their children by making sure that they shower immediately they return from playing in such areas. Additionally, they can prevent children from playing in the artificial grass on hot days since temperatures can reach hazardous levels. It is also very important to clean cuts and scrapes caused by rough playing on the field to prevent infections. It is better to be safe than sorry.
What Schools Should Do
Before installing such fields, education institutions need to consider safer alternatives to ease the concern of parents. A good option is cork which has not been linked to any diseases. Alternatively, they could stick to real grass fields. Although these also have dangerous pesticide applications, they can be controlled or stopped completely because they aren’t mandatory.
Artificial grass is convenient since it protects children from injuries when they fall and makes clean up time easier. However, some of the components in artificial grass are a health risk to children playing on them. For this reason, parents need to avoid such areas if they can. And if the children have to play there, they could take precaution to make sure everyone stays healthy