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China has introduced a mandatory standard for synthetic surfaces used in school sports venues. Since November 1, 2018, the standard – GB 36246-2018 – has been compulsory for all synthetic sports surfaces used in primary and secondary schools.

Initially published in May 2018, GB 36246-2018 ‘Sports areas with synthetic surfaces for primary and middle schools’ replaces the recommended but voluntary standard GB/T 19851.11-2005 ‘Sports equipment and playground for middle school and primary school Part 11: Synthetic surfaced athletic ground’.

The standard applies to new, renovated and expanded outdoor sports venues containing synthetic surfaces for competition, training, teaching and other activities in primary and secondary schools. It defines specific requirements and includes requirements related to design, installation, physical and mechanical properties, aging resistance, hazardous substances, and odor in synthetic materials, finished products and raw materials. It also covers sampling requirements, rules for inspection and standard methods.

Limits for hazardous substances include:

  • DBP, BBP and DEHP: ≤1.0 g/kg (sum of 3 phthalates)
  • DNOP, DINP and DIDP: ≤1.0 g/kg (sum of 3 phthalates)
  • 18 Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs):
    • ≤ 50 mg/kg (sum of 18 PAHs)
    • ≤ 20 mg/kg for the top 5 mm of the surface material (sum of 18 PAHs)
  • Benzo [a] pyrene: ≤ 1.0 mg/kg
  • Short chain chlorinated paraffins (C10-C13): ≤ 1.5 g/kg
  • 3,3'-Dichloro-4,4'-diaminodiphenylmethane (MOCA): ≤1.0 g/kg
  • Free toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and free hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI): ≤ 0.2 g/kg (sum of TDI and HDI)
  • Free diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI): ≤ 1.0 g/kg
  • Soluble lead: ≤ 50 mg/kg
  • Soluble cadmium: ≤ 10 mg/kg
  • Soluble chromium: ≤ 10 mg/kg
  • Soluble mercury: ≤ 2 mg/kg

The limits for hazardous substance emissions are:

  • Total volatile organic compounds (TVOC): ≤ 5.0 mg/m²h
  • Formaldehyde: ≤ 0.4 mg/m²h
  • Benzene: ≤ 0.1 mg/m²h
  • Toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene: ≤ 1.0 mg/m²h (sum of 3 solvents)
  • Carbon disulfide: ≤ 7.0 mg/m²h

Finally, the odor level must be below or equal to 3.

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