PFAS-free Synthetic Turf

Sport Group is committed to enhancing the quality, sustainability, and safety of all its products. We continually develop new and improved technologies, ingredients, and manufacturing processes.

Since 2019 we have been working intensively on finding alternatives, and have steadily removed the fluor chemistry from our global production plants – STR in USA, APT in Australia and Polytex in Germany

We achieved this by removing a fluorinated polymer from the turf manufacturing process and applying a new generation of polymer process aids that are free from fluorinated chemistry.

This proactive innovation went beyond the regulations at the time and ensures that we are now leading the industry in PFAS elimination.

Regulation compliance in California

Sport Group is globally compliant with all current legal regulations. This includes for example REACH in the EU.

At present, California has the most stringent regulations, with California Health and Safety Code 108945. In 2023 products manufactured at STR in Dalton, GA were tested by independent laboratories and comply with this Californian standard, which defines a threshold of PFAS using a total organic fluorine screening method specifically for children’s products. Meeting this standard determines the threshold of what is considered as ‘PFAS-free’. We will continue to independently test our products each year, as part of our internal auditing processes.

Sport Group places the highest priority on the health and safety of its customers, its employees, and the environment. We are transforming our products with green technology, and have an independent ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) rating that places the company in the top 7% of over 15,000 companies globally.

Sport Group turf is sold globally directly via our own companies, AstroTurf, Polytan and APT, or via our independent sales network.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes. Sport Group has been producing PFAS-free turf since 2020. 
  • AstroTurf-USA since 2020, Polytex-Germany since 2021, and APT-Australia since 2022. 
  • PFAS were typically used in carpets as a stain repellent or protector. 
  • Historically this was not how they were use used with synthetic grass. 
  • Instead, for synthetic grass, a type of fluoropolymer PFAS with low environmental risk was used in small amounts as a helper in the extrusion process. 
  • This was done in the past and is no longer practiced by Sport Group although other artificial turf manufacturers may still add PFAS. 
  • Less than 100ppm total organic fluorine. 
  • This is in line with California Health and Safety Code 108945 which defines regulations of PFAS for products (such as high-chairs, playmats, crib mattresses and etc…) designed for infants and juveniles under 12 years of age. 
  • Meeting this threshold is a high safety standard. 
  • Sport Group uses a specific criterion to determine whether a product is “PFAS free” or not. The criterion is based on the amount of total organic fluorine in the product, measured by a chemical analysis method called bomb digestion and potentiometric titration. 
  • If the product has less than 100ppm of total organic fluorine, it is considered “PFAS free” by Sport Group. This is a valid way of detecting and quantifying any PFAS that may have been added intentionally, regardless of their molecular size. 
  • The sample analyzed should be a representative portion of the finished product, at the point of manufacture, without infill and which has a careful chain of custody to prevent contamination. 
  • Sport Group turf is internally audited and tested by outside labs throughout the year. 
  • Total organic fluorine is superior to extraction and HPLC methods because those methods test for specific analytes which do not include the fluoropolymers previously used in turf. 
  • Total organic fluorine can screen for all PFAS types including fluoropolymers. 
  • Sample preparation in the oxygen bomb was chosen as this is a very effective way to digest the artificial turf. 
  • Both are standardized testing procedures which can be carried out affordably at most chemical labs. 
  • It is true that PFAS is ubiquitous and may be found in many products and even in the environment. 
  • It is with this understanding that the targets set under the PFAS Free definition (point #3 above) are at the point of manufacture. 
  • The fluoropolymer process aid is defined by the European Commission as “polymer of low concern” because it has a high molecular weight. 
  • Therefore, it is widely regarded as not bio-accessible (or able to be absorbed into the body) and it is hard for it to get into the water cycle (as it is too large to migrate from the polymer). 
  • Despite being of low concern, it is still a PFAS and Sport Group started to remove it from our formulations in 2020 out of proactive environmental considerations and to ensure we are leading the artificial turf market. 
  • The replacement is safe. The replacement is a new generation of polymer process aids that are free from fluorinated chemistry. 
  • Sport Group has conducted rigorous tests to verify that the replacement does not pose any environmental or health risks. We have patented this new technology and made it available to other turf manufacturers to help the industry move to PFAS-free. 
  • PFAS stands for perfluorinated alkyl substances meaning a heavily fluorinated-carbon compound. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health and Science (NIEHS) there are over 15,000 PFAS compounds in the EPA database. 
  • PFAS have many valuable properties, such as durability, thermal and chemical stability, fire resistance, water and oil repellence. 
  • These properties make PFAS essential for various industrial applications, such as aerospace and defense, transport, textiles, construction, electronics, and healthcare. 
  • PFAS are also used for common products like carpet protectant and non-stick cookware. 
  • PFAS are a large class of molecules and not all have the same properties. Some of the main concerns of regulators are:
    • Persistence: Due to their carbon-fluorine bonds, PFAS resist degradation when used and in the environment. 
    • Mobility: Some PFAS are easily transported in the environment for long distances and have been detected in groundwater, surface water and soil. 
    • Toxicity: Some PFAS have also been detected in the human body causing negative side-effects to health. 
  • Yes. The term Forever-Chemical was coined in 2018 by Harvard professor Joseph G. Allen and is a play on words for Fluoro-Carbon. This term has been highly effective in bringing public awareness to the issue of persistence. Sport Group is proud to be on the leading edge of removing forever-chemicals from turf. 
  • The reality is that PFAS are a genuine concern for the public which is why environmental advocates have built educational campaigns, regulators have set limits on the chemicals, and industries have worked hard to remove PFAS from their products.