Monthly Archives

March 2022

  • Healthy Home

    Dangers of Artificial Turf + Safer Alternatives

    artificial grass danger risks

    Lush green grass year-round has made artificial turf increasingly popular among consumers. But before you make the switch to the synthetic stuff, it is important to weigh both the pros and cons!

    *For more information and resources on this topic, scroll to the bottom of the page.

    Risks Associated with Artificial Turf

    The following are risks associated with artificial turf:

    Artificial turf and ‘crumb rubber’ often contains toxic heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, cadmium, and synthetic rubber/old tires (!!). And chemicals, like phthalates, BPA, and PFAS are known to cause harm to our bodies, but are added to the turf anyways. Additionally, latex can be found in some artificial turfs which isn’t always problematic, but can pose an issue to those with latex allergies.

    The synthetic surface heats up to dangerous levels causing injury. Throughout the warmer months, especially, artificial turf can become too hot to play on and contribute to burns, blisters, and heat exhaustion. Synthetic turf can become 40-70 degrees hotter than air temperatures on a warm day.

    The artificial turf ultimately begins breaking down and releases harmful compounds which are then breathe in, accidently ingested, and end up in our waterways.

    Certain artificial turf surfaces result in greater injury due to the abrasive nature of the turf regardless of the outdoor temperature. This is a huge point for me which I can attest to this personally. My daughter was about 2 years old when she suffered a “rug burn” from artificial turf at a local playground. To this day, that injury was worse than any injury from a park filled with natural materials.

    Synthetic turf doesn’t support wildlife. Animals, birds, insects, and the rest of the eco-system all benefit from a natural playing field. When artificial turf replaces it, these animals are displaced and their habitat shrinks.

    Artificial turf is NOT a win-win for the environment or consumer. Maintenance to artificial turf can be costly, but the effect on the environment is worse. Most artificial turf will not be able to be recycled hence ending up in a landfill and further disrupting the ecosystem in the process.

    Artificial turf can melt if hot embers from a firepit or grill fall onto the surface.

    Some artificial turf stinks (literally!). And all of those volatile chemicals are being breathe in by our children. Depending on the materials used, some odors never fully dissipate.

    Animal feces (and odors) do not decompose on artificial turf as they would with natural materials like grass or woodchips.

    Synthetic turf may lead to staph infections since the surfaces generally are not sanitary. Sometimes, companies will add antimicrobials and other not-so-great chemicals to ward off the spread of germs. Study results are mixed, but this is still something to consider.

    Photo of a playground in St. Louis (shared by Rockwood Turf Restored).

    Precautions To Take

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends the following precautions in relation to artificial turf:

    • Avoid mouth contact with playground surfacing materials, including mouthing, chewing, or swallowing playground rubber. This may pose a choking hazard, regardless of chemical exposure.
    • Avoid eating food or drinking beverages while directly on playground surfaces, and wash hands before handling food.
    • Limit the time at a playground on extremely hot days.
    • Clean hands and other areas of exposed skin after visiting the playground, and consider changing clothes if evidence of tire materials (e.g., black marks or dust) is visible on fabrics.
    • Clean any toys that were used on a playground after the visit. 

    Read more here.

    Alternatives to Artificial Turf

    While artificial turf may seem like a decent alternative to grass, there are numerous better alternatives.

    • Natural grass
    • Woodchips
    • Mulch
    • Engineered wood fiber (ADA Compliant)
    • Ground cover such as creeping thyme, clover, or moss
    • Pea gravel or other small rocks
    • Native flower gardens and tall grasses
    • Concrete
    • Pavers

    If you STILL choose to install artificial turf…

    If you still choose to install artificial turf, there are some things you can do to lessen your risk.

    • Be sure to ask the right questions! Check out Questions to Ask Installers and Facility Managers provided by
    • ALWAYS ask the manufacturer to provide a MSDS sheet for each every layer of turf installed. If any material is listed as “unknown”, you should avoid.

    Full Disclaimer and Disclosure here.

    Sources and Additional Reading:

    1. Real is Better than Fake: Concerning the Dangers and Risks of Synthetic Turf Fields (A special thanks to Rockwood Turf Restored for providing this resource)
    2. Fact Sheet: CPSC, EPA & CDC on Artificial Turf Safety & Precautions
    3. New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC) Fact Sheet | Be Aware of Artificial Turf Hazards
    4. The Dangerous Pileup of Artificial Turf
    5. Healthy Playing Fields Brochure on Artificial Turf
    6. Child burned on DC playground highlights turf, rubber surface concerns
    7. Heat Levels on Synthetic Turf
    8. Former NFL Star Blames Turf for Jameson Williams’s Injury
    9. Chemical Pollution Has Passed Safe Limits For Humanity
    10. Artifical Turf & Safe Alternatives (YouTube)
    11. EPA-linked consultant undercuts agency’s PFAS concerns
    12. Synthetic Turf: Health Debate Takes Root, 2008 | Environmental Health Perspectives, published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

  • Babies & Kids, DIY & Recipes

    DIY: Non-Toxic Stepping Stones for Kids

    Anyone else’s little one love playing “the floor is lava”? These DIY stepping stones are great for creating obstacle courses, playing games, and enhancing your little one’s coordination. Not only are they inexpensive and eco-friendly, but making them is so easy and fun too!


    • Cork Trivet | I purchased mine from Ikea, but Amazon has some great options too!
    • Non-Toxic Paint | Feel free to mix and match paints! I used a mix of ECOS paint samples, Benjamin Moore Natura (discontinued), and Ikea paint.
    • Paint Brush | I used the largest brush from this Ikea paintbrush set and it worked great! I’m sure a roller would work well too.


    Simply cover your workspace with newspaper, grab a paint brush and paint away! Depending on the paint you use, you’ll need 1-2 coats. Enjoy!

    Don’t have the time for this DIY? Check out these awesome options below!

    1. Plastic Stepping Stones | These stepping stones are made from polypropylene plastic (one of the safest plastic) and silicone making them a great option for littles.
    2. Birch Wood Stepping Stones | This eco-friendly option is made with birch wood and includes non-slip rubber bottoms. Note: If you decide to purchase these, I’d look further into the type of rubber and confirm with the company that they are free of toxins and heavy metals.
    3. Wooden Stepping Stones | And lastly, these wooden stones from one of my favorite brands, Wiwiurka, are a bit more pricey, but toxin-free and made from solid wood!

    Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” Regardless, we only recommend products or services that have extensively researched; and products that we use personally, have used and would use in the future. We pride ourselves on honesty and integrity to our readers. Full Disclaimer and Disclosure here.