Does cleaning turf with uv light work – pprc pprc

Artificial turf, an increasingly common surface in urban and suburban spaces due to its low maintenance and water requirements, presents risks of causing MRSA infections. Turf fields, which both absorb bodily fluids and cause cuts and abrasions, can create environments where bacteria thrive. Studies, however, have not definitively shown that artificial turf harbors more risk of infection than natural grass. We do know that sports requiring more contact or time on the ground are more likely to cause staph infections than other sports. Wrestling, football, and rugby see the highest rates of infections, according to the CDC.

Different turf cleaning options and products exist, including ultraviolet (UV) treatment, liquid chemicals (including enzymatic cleaners) and ozone treatment.


Ultraviolet (UV) light is considered an effective method to eliminate harmful bacteria from food, water, air, and various surfaces. UVC treatment employs the C-band, a shorter wavelength of UV light that kills germs. UV treatment may also be referred to as Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI). UVC ruptures the nucleic acids of micro-organisms, rendering bacteria inactive or harmless. The degree of the method’s success depends on variables such as: application time on the surface; beam strength and use over time [1]; positioning relative to the treated surface; and others. Light strength can diminish over time, so it is important that bulbs are changed per manufacturer’s instruction.

Studies suggest that the MRSA found on different surfaces – such as Kentucky bluegrass samples, low density polyethylene films, and human and animal skin – is inhibited or destroyed by relatively short exposure to UV light (Hardjawinta et al, 2005; Silva et al, 2003, Thai et al, 2002). Studies on non-turf surfaces, and on wounds infected with MRSA, have also shown that UV light can destroy this bacteria. Only two studies conducted on synthetic turf were found in the literature. These are summarized below.

Though not peer reviewed, these internal studies hint at the effectiveness of UV irradiation in eliminating turf bacteria. A 2008 study tested the survival of S. aureus under different chemical treatments on both indoor and outdoor turf. Though the study didn’t test UVC treatment specifically, it concluded that UV light exposure (or sunlight) and high temperatures played significant roles in eliminating the bacteria from all the outdoor turf tests. A more recent study by Penn State’s Center for Sports Surface Research evaluated the efficacy of a UVC generating device in eliminating S, aureus on synthetic turf surfaces. The study was designed to replicate UVC cleaning devices on the market, specifically the GreenZapr from GreensGroomer Worldwide. UVC treated plots completely eliminated the bacteria on both samples of the turf fibers and on the rubber infill balls commonly applied to turf surfaces (McNitt and Petrunak, year unkown).

Which facilities are using UVC treatment? A representative from SportsturfNW says that several professional, college, high school, and recreational facilities are using UVC technology (GreenZapr). “Two NFL teams are currently utilizing UVC technology (GreenZapr) and more are in the process of exploring the technology,” the representative said.