THE use of artificial surfaces for sport has led to concerns over safety.

But top level rugby clubs, including Premiership side Newcastle Falcons, have invested in the surfaces in recent years.

Modern pitches are significantly more sophisticated from the early generations of a green carpeted surface laid over a concrete base, with sand in between.

The introduction of 3G (third generation) pitches early in the new Millennium offered longer synthetic grass which offered better grip. Designs of 4G pitches are said to be even more advanced.

Last year, a parent blamed the death of his 20-year-old son on the 3G chrome rubber surfaces he had played football on as a goalkeeper.

Nigel Maguire, of Darlington, claimed his son Lewis had swallowed rubber pellets, used within the pitch material, containing toxic chemicals.

He claimed that as a goalkeeper, his son was more likely to swallow the substance, and called for a review into the safety of artificial pitches. An inquest returned a narrative verdict, and the coroner made no reference to Mr Maguire’s claims.

Sports minister Tracey Crouch said studies had found no evidence such surfaces were unsafe. Mr Maguire called for further investigations to be carried out.