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City of Glendale Bans Synthetic Grass Despite Environmental Benefits and the Need to Conserve Water

Friday, November 18, 2011  
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GLENDALE, CA – While the City of Glendale, California has imposed mandatory watering conservation measures since July 2009 in response to a severe drought, yesterday it announced a ban on an increasingly popular water conservation tool – the use of synthetic grass in front yards. While citing health concerns, the City continues to permit homeowners to install synthetic grass in their backyards.

"Unfortunately for local residents that already enjoy their synthetic grass landscape, Glendale Mayor Laura Friedman and city leaders might not have been adequately briefed about the safety and many benefits of today’s synthetic grass,” said Rick Doyle, president of the Synthetic Turf Council. "We urge the City of Glendale to reconsider its decision and learn more about how today’s environmentally friendly synthetic grass looks like natural grass and has been proven to be safe by organizations such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Consumer Product Safety Commission.”

Glendale High School, Disneyland, the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base and thousands of homes, businesses, golf courses, and public spaces have turned to synthetic grass to provide a lush, attractive landscape solution that saves precious water, eliminates the use of toxic fertilizers, and requires minimal maintenance. Use of synthetic grass for playgrounds allows for continuous and safe play to help combat childhood obesity, an important objective of First Lady Michele Obama’s "Let’s Move” program and the NFL’s "Play 60” campaign. It also creates more recreational opportunities for people with disabilities that require an accessible play area, and is used by retirement communities for landscaping to assist residents with mobility challenges.

According to the Southern Nevada Water Authority, every square foot of natural grass replaced by synthetic turf conserves 55 gallons a year by eliminating the need for watering. If an average lawn is 1,800 square feet, then homeowners in Glendale save 99,000 gallons of water each year or about $400 annually. In addition, the EPA estimates that 33.2 million tons of yard trimmings, which are eliminated by synthetic grass, were generated in the U.S. in 2009, the third largest component of municipal solid waste in landfills. Recognizing these benefits, other California municipalities such as Riverside and Foster City are offering homeowners rebates to replace their irrigated areas with synthetic grass.

Synthetic turf has also been proven to be safe following studies by the U.S. EPA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment of the California EPA, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health, Connecticut Departments of Public Health and the Environment to name a few. Visit to see studies posted in their entirety under Research & Latest Thinking.

In addition, after the Consumer Product Safety Commission studied the risks of lead chromate in pigments that were previously once was used to color synthetic turf, they wrote in 2008, "young children are not at risk from exposure to lead in these fields." The U.S. synthetic turf industry has voluntarily reduced the use of lead chromate to at or near 0 for all synthetic turf products -- well below the standard legislated by the Federal Government for children's toys.

The Synthetic Turf Council, representing over two hundred companies in the synthetic turf industry, encourages the City of Glendale to learn more about synthetic turf’s proven safety, positive impact on the environment and other benefits by visiting, and also reviewing Synthetic Turf 360⁰: A Guide for Today’s Synthetic Turf.

About the Synthetic Turf Council

Based in Atlanta, the Synthetic Turf Council was founded in 2003 to promote the industry and to assist buyers and end users with the selection, use and maintenance of synthetic turf systems in sports field, golf, municipal parks, airports, landscape and residential applications. The organization is also a resource for current, credible, and independent research on the safety and environmental impact of synthetic turf. Membership includes builders, landscape architects, testing labs, maintenance providers, manufacturers, suppliers, installation contractors, infill material suppliers and other specialty service companies. For more information, visit

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