The environmental debate over the use of microplastics for synthetic turf wages on as the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) has decided to take an extra three months to finalize its opinion on the proposed restriction.
Microplastics are often added to the infill layer of artificial playing surfaces for shock absorption and drainage, however they have been criticized as they can be dispersed during play and find their way into the surrounding environment. Most are also unable to be recycled when a field is replaced.
Some chemicals used for the use of the plastics can also contain harmful contaminants, which damage are believed to pose a risk to wildlife and athletes.
A proposed ban on the use of microplastics for turf has been mooted, however, the decision has been pushed back and the consolidated opinion of ECHA’s Committees for Risk Assessment (RAC) and Socio-economic Analysis (SEAC) is now expected in June this year.
The standard 12 months reserved for the committees’ opinion formation has been extended due to the high number of comments received through the public consultation. ECHA also acknowledges the complexity of the issues to be evaluated.
The public consultation on the proposal to restrict the use of intentionally added microplastic particles closed on 20 September 2019. By that time ECHA had received 477 individual comments.