The National Sports & Physical Activity Convention (NSC) has partnered with the International Association for Sports & Leisure Facilities (IAKS) to focus on how synthetic technology can help meet the growing demand for community sports fields, especially with young women and girls after the success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023.

Although some community environmental groups have raised concerns about potential exposures and health effects due to the use of recycled car tyres being used as infill on many synthetic sports surfaces, the majority of sports clubs and players are grateful for fields that can cope with over 50 hours of use weekly.

Now the largest multi-agency research project[1], which started in February 2018 in the United States has released this peer reviewed Part 2 report, which summarised states: “Although chemicals are present (as expected) in the tyre rubber crumb and exposures can occur they are likely to be limited.”

Martin Sheppard, Managing Director of Smart Connection Consultancy and the technical consultant for Hockey Australia, NRL, Rugby Australia stated “This global recognition supports the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineers Report from last year which states ‘Overall, literature review and expert advice did not identify major health risks associated with synthetic turf.”[2]

We have been advising for the last 12 months that the industry should now be embracing organic infills, shockpads and investment in maintenance to ensure that children have the opportunity to play sport.”

The NSC this year is exploring the latest global trends in synthetic, natural and hybrid turf so that as an industry we are confident in the safety of the technology and we can focus on ‘Changing the Narrative’ by focusing on how we embrace the technology to ensure more children and adults become more active, addressing the growing health problems due to a sedentary lifestyle.

[1] Centres for Disease Contrast and Presentation/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (CDC/ATSDR) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC).

[2] Synthetic Turf in Public Spaces – Independent Review into the design, use and impacts of synthetic turf in public spaces.

Editor’s Notes

The National Sports & Physical Activity Convention (NSC) has grown since 2016 as APAC’s largest and most prominent community sport and recreation convention and expo. In 2023 had overwhelming support and participation from the largest ever gathering of the sports and physical activity ecosystem with over 1,550 attendees and a sold-out Expo of 80+ of the latest products, services and innovations. The organisers work with its 47 collaborators to curate a program with international and Australian experts, providing the most comprehensive program on community sport recreation and sports facilities in Australia.  

Photos from the NSC can be found at

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Further information contact Anthony Reed, at or (03) 9421 0133.

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