10-19-23 | News

California Passes on Bill Limiting Forever Chemicals Used in Synthetic Turf

Turf Stays Despite Chemicals
by Staff

While the environmental challenges faced from artificial turf are very real, California's Governor believes that an outright ban needs more data.

California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill last week that would limit the use of "forever chemicals" in plastic products including synthetic lawns. He did sign one bill that undoes a Gov. Brown-era law and now allows cities and counties to ban artificial turf.

The veto comes as environmental moves have been of the upmost priority for the West Coast governor. Just last week, California signed a law that prohibits industrial parks, public agencies, restaurants, and corporate campuses from watering nonfunctional turf with potable water.

When Gov. Jerry Brown was in office, less than a decade ago, he signed a law prohibiting municipalities from banning synthetic grass due to the drought at that time. However, now the state Legislature has proposed bills discouraging synthetic turf due to health risks caused by perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl, or PFAS chemicals.

Synthetic turf, known to utilize chemicals such as bisphenol A known as BPA, leach out the harmful chemical when hot. The chemical is linked to chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and neurological issues.

Newsom wrote that he supports the intent but was concerned that the state was not ready to make the move effectively. He continued that he wants to consult lawmakers on alternatives to regulating the use of the chemicals in consumer products.

Janet Hartin, horticulture expert at UC Extension in Los Angeles County and Landscape Expo, Anaheim speaker, told The Orange County Register, that she "measured various types of surfaces in Palm Springs, where air temperatures around 100?F are common during the summer. On days around 100?F or more, she reported temperatures of synthetic turf and other artificial substances around 175?F." she went on to say, "We want to increase the population of our habitat pollinators, and plant climate-resilient plants that provide shade, buffer sun exposure, provide windbreaks, help reduce stormwater runoff and reduce soil and water erosion. And you can't do that with synthetic grass."


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