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I purchased some synthetic turf, just for a small area (approx 2x1m), and when reading the instructions it mentioned about needing to use dried silica sand as the sand infill.

Because I was having trouble finding this, I stumbled upon the dangers of silica dust, and because of this I now wish to avoid using it, even if it is the best option to use.

I was wondering what other options I have, are there any that are safe and preferred over "regular sand"?

...or does all sand contain crystalline silica? I found this one, which claims it is safe for playgrounds; but then in the Safety Data Sheet they make note that it is "QUARTZ (CRYSTALLINE SILICA) (IE. SAND)" and notes of potential exposure to inhaling the dust or it getting on your skin, hair or in your eyes?

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  • The particles in sand (especially washed sand)are considerably larger than dust.
    – Ecnerwal
    Apr 23, 2022 at 14:45
  • Have you seen the product itself? Agricultural or builder's sand (mostly the former) comprises of a relatively coarser grain and usually makes very little dust. In some countries ground tufa is the norm. It is said to allow reverting to regular planting if you decide one day to take off the synthetic turf and plant instead. Apr 23, 2022 at 15:24

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In the UK, the recommended and best material to use under the artificial turf is granite dust, not sand - silica sand is sometimes used as infill between joined areas, but it's not ideal because of its non rounded shape. This https://m.artificialgrassgb.co.uk//blog/what-goes-under-artificial-grass-.html#:~:text=Granite%20Dust&text=Not%20installing%20a%20drainage%20system,moisture%20to%20flow%20freely%20throughout. might be of some help for general guidance. Whether you use fine sand or granite dust, a dust mask is essential when putting it down, as the other answer says.

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Both silica sand and regular sandbox sand are primarily made of silica (silicon dioxide), which primarily comes from quartz. The difference between them is the percentage of silica in the sand. Silica sand is at least 95% silica, while regular sand is usually about 80% silica. Here is an explanation from a company in the trade: Differences between silica sand and regular sand. Note that in the first "what is it used for" section, the article mentions that silica sand is used to provide excellent drainage; it's also used in water filtration. Both of these applications are probably why your turf manufacturer recommended its use.

Given that sandtraps in golf courses are usually made of silica sand (definitely for drainage and also probably because it's white, not brown), I highly doubt that working with it once for your project will be an issue BUT I am not a doctor, just a random guy on the internet, so if I were you when working with the sand I'd wear a respirator (probably an N95), not work on a windy day, and shower immediately after finishing to remove the dust from my body. Wearing some sort of one-time-use PPE suit might also be a good idea. In other words, I'd treat the situation as if I were using a restricted herbicide.

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