Nonprofit: Artificial turf raises ground temperatures, releases PFAS into soil

By Ron Dungan
Published: Monday, November 20, 2023 - 8:05am
Updated: Monday, November 20, 2023 - 8:47am

As Arizonans look for ways to conserve water, they may be tempted to rip out their lawns and replace them with artificial turf.

But fake grass has a lot of drawbacks.

Artificial turf can raise ground temperatures to about 180 degrees and contribute to the urban heat island.

You can cool it with water, but it takes a lot to keep it cool, about as much as it would to maintain a lawn.

The plastic can also release PFAS, the so-called forever chemicals that the government has only recently begun to monitor, said Kyla Bennett of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

"As it’s exposed to UV light, and abrasion, and slightly acidic rain, even more PFAS will leech off," Bennett said. "And it will get into the soil, the groundwater, the vegetation, surface waters, drinking water."

She said that used-up turf has so many chemicals that landfills won’t accept it.

"You know, what do you do with it? You rip it up. And it’s hazardous waste. You can’t bring it to a landfill. It can’t be recycled. So, what they’re doing is they’re dumping it illegally, or they’re burning it, which is sending all those chemicals up into the air," she said.

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