ESTC calls for supporting the publication of ‘Guidance on how to minimise infill dispersion’ guideline

ESTC encourages you to reach out to your national standards organisation to notify them that you support the publication of ‘Guidance on how to minimise infill dispersion into the environment’ by the European Standards Committee. The support is essential as we understand that the European Chemical Agency’s Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) is likely to recommend a market ban on polymeric infill materials.

The ballot by CEN to authorise the publication of the report has just commenced, with a closing date in early June. The draft report has been prepared with input from ESTC, experts representing their national standards organisations and international and national sports associations.

Publishing this guideline is essential to show the European Commission that the industry is serious about minimising infill migration from synthetic turf fields.

Good design minimises infill migration and makes ban unnecessary
From what we have been told, the European Chemical Agency’s Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) is likely to recommend a ban effective six years after the new restriction comes into effect. This would mean that from 2027/28 polymeric infill would no longer be available to the market.

RAC is one of only two committees that will advise the European Commission on the proposed ban. The other committee is the Social and Economic Assessment Committee (SEAC). Their meeting has been postponed until June or later. SEAC looks at the broader implications and alternative options whereas RAC tends to take a conservative approach because their primary focus is on the scientific aspects of a draft restriction.

Once the opinions of both committees are finalised, they will be sent to the European Commission to enable them to decide on the final content of the microplastics restriction. The Commission does not have to follow the recommendations of RAC or SEAC.

ESTC and others have already expressed views on the socioeconomic impact of any ban. We have proposed alternative ways to minimise infill migration through field containment methods. We hope SEAC will give this due consideration.

Get your copy!
Good field design and construction, containment features within perimeter fencing, edging details, access points and stormwater drainage systems are just a few examples of how infill migration can be managed. To give this guidance enhanced status and ensure publication throughout Europe, ESTC proposed that the European Standards Committee (CEN) responsible for synthetic sports surfaces, develop and publish a technical report on this subject.

We encourage you to obtain a copy of the national edition (Dutch, German, Belgium, British, etc) of the draft report from your national standards organisation (DIN, AFNOR, NEN, BSI, etc) and to notify the national standards organisation that you support the publication of the report. Please convince the national standards organisation of the importance of registering a positive vote. If the publication of the report does not receive enough support, ESTC’s submissions to ECHA will less likely influence their recommendations to the European Commission.

The CEN report reference is FprCENTR 17519, Surfaces for sports areas – Synthetic turf sports facilities Guidance on how to Minimize Infill Dispersion into the Environment (Leitfaden zur Minimierung des Risikos von Umweltkontaminationen durch Kunststoffrasenfüllungen).

We also invite you to share this information with national sports associations and other interested parties to get as much support as possible.

You can download the English version of the CEN document here. Please note that most national standards organisations will have the document available in your native language.

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