The LA council committee approves a motion to investigate the feasibility of a ban on artificial grass

The LA council committee approves a motion to investigate the feasibility of a ban on artificial grass

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A Los Angeles City Council committee on Friday introduced a motion calling for a study into the feasibility of banning artificial turf, citing health and environmental concerns.

In a 4-0 vote, the council’s Energy and Environment Committee approved the motion introduced by Councillor Bob Blumenfield and seconded by Councillor Katy Yaroslavsky on May 24. Through the study, councillors hope to gain insight into the health and environmental risks of what are known as polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, found in artificial turf.

Councillor Kevin de Leon, who sits on the committee, was absent from the vote.

In 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom passed SB 676, which allowed cities to decide whether to ban the use of artificial turf. Now LA’s elected officials are looking to see if this could be the right move.

The cities of Millbrae and San Marino have themselves introduced a ban on artificial grass.

Artificial grass is made by combining rubber and certain plastics to create the illusion of lush grasses. In recent years, people have installed artificial grass to help the environment by encouraging water conservation, among other things. But that may not be the case, according to the council members’ motion.

In April 2024, the Biden administration, through the Environmental Protection Agency, classified PFAS and other “forever chemicals” as hazardous substances that pose a risk to human health. The EPA concluded that exposure to PFAS can lead to reproductive effects, developmental delays, and risks of some cancers. Exposure can occur through inhalation, ingestion, skin contact, and mucous membrane exposure, including microplastic dust drifted onto artificial turf fields.

The council members also said in their motion that runoff from artificial turf could cause PFAS and other contaminants to enter groundwater or waterways and the ocean, potentially contaminating drinking water.

“In addition, additional grass contributes to the urban heat island effect, raising local temperatures while the city is engaged in other efforts to combat urban heat, including cool pavement and increasing urban forest cover,” the motion reads. “Artificial grass does not support life, including insects and birds, and by depriving the underlying soil of water, air and light, it can kill beneficial organisms in the soil for years.”

Los Angeles Waterkeeper, which bills itself as “LA’s water watchdog,” released a statement saying the commission’s vote was a “major step” in the right direction to protect public health and the region’s waterways.

“Despite the industry’s best efforts to avoid regulation, we are finally seeing progress in protecting Americans from these forever dangerous chemicals,” said Kelly Shannon McNeill, deputy director of Los Angeles Waterkeeper. “Phasing out and eventually banning the use of artificial turf is an important step in that process and is critical to protecting the health of our communities, wildlife and our environment.”

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