The use of polyethylene as the exclusive component to make synthetic grass renders the grass safe from lead, a problem that has been concerning the synthetic grass industry in recent times. Synthetic grass that has been made from nylon fibers require a lead-based bonding agent in order for the pigment to adhere properly. It is this chemical that breaks down as the grass ages causing the excessive levels of lead dust and creating a health risk. Poly fiber doesn’t require this kind of treatment and so, there is no resultant lead emission.

On the other hand sports synthetic grasses, otherwise known as artificial turf, was almost exclusively made from recycled rubber tires filling a nylon fibered surface. These playing fields are the source of much of the concern, particularly the older artificial turf fields as they are more likely to be breaking down.

Synthetic Grass Testing Results

An investigation in 2007 by the New Jersey Department of health and Senior Services (DHSS) resulted in the testing of lead levels in an old style artificial turf field. The laboratory tests came back with the revelation of high levels of lead in the turf fibers and in the dust from the deterioration of the fibers. Later tests of what is referred to as new generation synthetic turf, those which tend to use polyethylene grass fibers, failed to find these high lead levels.

The good news is that there are a growing number of artificial grass manufacturers entering the market with artificial turf products that are comprised of 100% polyethylene fibers. When used in conjunction with non-rubber infill products such as a thermoplastic product, the health concerns are almost completely answered. The only question that really remains is how these products will perform further down the track because they are so new, it remains to be seen if or how they will break down.

It is gratifying to see the constant push to find improved products to answer the concerns that have been raised about synthetic grass. Not only do polyethylene fibers answer the health concerns but the material is also more beneficial environmentally because it allows the water to drain through just like real grass.

Polyethylene Grass Is Great For Pet Owners

This last fact makes polyethylene grass an ideal synthetic grass solution for pet owners too. Synthetic grass made from nylon fibers have been found to have the problem that they absorb characteristics in pet waste which further results in pet odors being retained. Polyethylene grass removes this problem along with the odors thanks to a combination of the non-porous fibers and infill allowing the animal waste and urine to wash freely through the surface. This also means that there will be limited bacterial growth occurring.

As a brief guide for the cost of synthetic grass made from polyethylene fibers, for residential installations, is around $5.25 to $5.50 per square foot. Naturally this price will vary from one supplier to another but if you’re getting it for around that price you should be safe in the knowledge that the price is competitive relative to the marketplace.

It must be noted that although high levels of lead have not been detected in the new generation synthetic grass fibers, they have not been completely lead-free. Researchers have found some lead, particularly in yellow fibers – often used to mark field boundaries – as well as in some green fibers. Lead levels have also been found in the rubber infill used with some new generation turf. See this related article about Synthetic Grass Infill and Alternatives To Rubber Granules for some new ideas and technological advancements to solve this problem.