Although bills targeting synthetic turf fields with recycled rubber infill sprang up across the nation this year, none of them have found traction in state legislatures. Several states explored legislation to ban, or place moratoriums, on the installation of synthetic fields with recycled rubber infills.
Other legislation would have required signage warning the public that recycled rubber was present on a field or playground. In nearly all these situations, the legislation was defeated once the legislators were informed of the scientific evidence. Connecticut HB 5139, seeking an indefinite installation ban, got the farthest after passing out of committee and going to the House for a floor vote, but it was not taken up before the session ended on May 4.
In addition, there have been a series of unsubstantiated reports in the media against the recycled rubber industry, largely focused on the use of crumb rubber infill in synthetic turf and safety concerns associated with the same. The reality is that all of the scientific studies to date (more than 90 from leading universities, toxicologists, and government agencies) have found no significant health risk associated with artificial (synthetic) turf with recyclable rubber infill. In keeping with our commitment to a reputation based on trust and transparency, ISRI has launched RecycledRubberFacts.org to assist all stakeholders in confronting such unsubstantiated media reports with facts and will continue to encourage policymakers to look at the sound nonpartisan, peer-reviewed research that has been done before making reactive decisions that impact an industry that is so important to both the environment and economy.
Additionally, three federal agencies (U.S. EPA, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry (ATSDR) of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have been tasked to conduct a study on recycled rubber used as infill in artificial turf fields. ISRI and several other organizations have submitted comments to the agencies urging the use of sound scientific principles and comparative analysis with nearby natural fields adjacent to synthetic turf fields with recycled rubber infill to measure the levels of chemicals of concern that may be present. ISRI also joined with the National Association of Manufacturers submitting additional comments supporting better coordination of the agencies efforts to gather and study information to provide assurances to the public about the general safety of recycled rubber infills in various applications. Finally, ISRI and the other associations met with EPA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to present scientific evidence and offer assistance to the government agencies conducting additional studies.