Press Releases

New Testing Reveals High Levels of Toxic PFAS in Artificial Turf

Contact: Emily DiFrisco, emilyd@ceh.org

[UPDATED May 14, 2024, 1:13 pm]

Home Depot and Lowe’s failed to warn consumers of dangerous levels of ‘Forever Chemicals’ in artificial turf.

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Today the nonprofit watchdog Center for Environmental Health (CEH) sent legal notices to Home Depot and Lowe’s for selling artificial turf found to contain high levels of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). PFOS is one of the most studied toxic PFAS chemicals, also known as “forever chemicals.” Exposure to PFOS can cause adverse health effects, including cancer and reproductive harm. Home Depot and Lowe’s failed to warn its customers of potential exposure to PFOS in its Lifeproof, Traffic Master, and SYNlush artificial turf products, as required under California’s consumer health protection law, Proposition 65.

Independent testing commissioned by CEH found that artificial turf, intended for home installation, contained alarmingly high levels of PFOS. While artificial lawns are often marketed as a drought-resistant alternative to natural grass, artificial turf containing toxic PFAS chemicals is anything but sustainable.

“No one should be inadvertently exposed to toxic chemicals,” said Kizzy Charles-Guzman, CEO of the Center for Environmental Health. “Our lawns are places in our homes where we should be able to play and relax, safely. They should not be spaces where we worry about exposing ourselves to harm. Touching artificial turf lawns can expose us to PFAS chemicals when transferred from the turf to our hands and then our mouth.”

CEH wants retailers and manufacturers to reformulate their artificial turf products to remove PFAS chemicals so that the products are safe for public health and the environment. In the meantime, CEH recommends the following ways to avoid exposure to PFOS from artificial turf:

  1. If you touch artificial turf, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water following contact.
  2. Limit your exposure to artificial turf; if you have children, limit play time on turf and ensure that hands and other body parts that come into contact with the turf do not end up touching their mouths
  3. Consider natural landscaping materials and other drought-resistant garden ideas instead of artificial turf.

Over a decade ago, CEH, the California Attorney General, the city of Los Angeles and Solano County finalized legal agreements to end health threats from lead in artificial turf with Field Turf, the nation’s leading maker and installer of artificial turf fields, and Beaulieu Group, the leading supplier of indoor/outdoor grass to retailers including Home Depot, Ace Hardware and others. The agreements set a legal limit of no more than 50 parts per million of lead in turf sold in California; previous CEH testing found more than 300 times that amount of lead in one FieldTurf product.

CEH has a 27-year track record of protecting communities from the health impacts of toxic pollution and has previously uncovered lead and other toxic health threats to children from wood playground structures, toys, vinyl baby bibs and lunchboxes, imported candies, children’s jewelry, children’s medicines, and many other products. CEH also works with major industries and leaders in green business to promote healthier alternatives to toxic products and practices.