Artificial grass pitches are recognised as a durable, safe, year-round playing surfaces, able to withstand intensive use and all kinds of weather. They mean more people can benefit from the social and health benefits of physical activity.
However, concerns have been raised about the safety and environmental impact associated with these pitches. Most commonly this relates to the fibre loss of microplastics and; in the case of third generation or 3G pitches, the presence of rubber crumb (which is also a microplastic). We take these concerns very seriously.
We've monitored numerous independent scientific studies on the safety of rubber crumb, which have reported a very low or negligible level of concern for human health. The European Chemicals Agency European Chemicals Regulatory Authority (ECHA) published its own findings in 2019, following an extensive EU-wide study, and found no reason to advise people against playing sport on 3G pitches with rubber crumb.
In response to the concerns, the Sports and Play Construction Association (SAPCA), the UK trade body for the sports pitch industry, has agreed and implemented a mandatory standard for their members that provides the same PAH restrictions as that proposed for European regulation.
We, along with Sport Wales, Sport Scotland and leading sport governing bodies all support this approach.
Following the UK’s exit from the EU, the regulatory framework for these matters now sits at a UK level (except for Northern Ireland). The four national governments of the UK and their agencies are working with leading sports and industry bodies to provide greater reassurance to communities that artificial grass pitches in this country are both safe for the environment and for people to play on.