Infill in synthetic turf: ECHA requests supplementary opinion

(author: SAPCA)

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has requested its Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) to prepare a supplementary opinion on the proposed restriction on intentionally-added microplastics, with respect to the use of polymeric infills in synthetic turf pitches.

The reason for the request relates to new information that became available during the 90-day consultation process in 2020, which RAC had not been able to consider at the time.

During the consultation, information concerning the use of risk management measures (RMM) to prevent infill loss into the environment was made available in two documents, which were submitted for consideration and were referenced by a wide range of responders.

Firstly, the CEN Technical Report 17519 (Guidance on how to minimize infill dispersion into the environment), was published in July 2020. This document, produced by CEN with the support of SAPCA (long standing IAKS member) and a number of its member companies, highlighted the industry’s response to the issue of infill migration. The content of the document has formed the basis of SAPCA’s new Code of Practice for the selection and use of Sports Performance Infills and has been adopted into the standards of a number of international governing bodies, including FIFA, World Rugby and the FIH. It also forms part of the Football Foundation framework specification.

Secondly, a study undertaken by Ecoloop (and commissioned by ESTC) assessed and highlighted the potential of the RMM and offered a very positive view regarding the impact of them. The RAC report, published in June 2020, expressed concerns about the practicality and enforceability of RMM in the absence of any standards or guidance on their use.

The impact of publishing the CEN report, along with the adoption of the principles of the report by major sports governing bodies, has led to ECHA inviting RAC to consider these new documents.

artificial turf_close up_carina deuß

photo: IAKS, Carina Deuß

Read more about SAPCA's latest Code of Practice: selection and use of Sports Performance Infills in 3G artificial turf

Go to SAPCA website