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European Chemical Agency Finds Little Concern Over Use of Crumb Rubber

The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) released its report last week stating they “found no reason to advise people against playing sports on synthetic turf containing recycled rubber granules as infill material” based on ECHA’s evaluation that there is a very low level of concern from exposure to substances found in the granules.

However, due to the uncertainties, ECHA makes several recommendations to ensure that any remaining concerns are eliminated. The European Commission asked the agency to do the evaluation, focusing on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – which are already extensively restricted by EU legislation. Despite the conclusion, ECHA suggests measures to improve information for users of synthetic turfs, and said regulatory changes should be considered to ensure rubber granules are only supplied with very low concentrations of harmful chemicals. These findings echo a December 2016 Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), which said that adverse health effects from the use of recycled rubber granules are “negligible.” However, it recommended a stricter standard for PAH content of the material. 

Meanwhile, in the U.S., three federal agencies are conducting an investigation into the safety of recycled crumb rubber. Also, the agencies have recommended that people take basic hygiene measures, after using artificial turf. ISRI along with others have helped provide the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Product Safety Commission with scientific information to help study this material. Currently, over 90 studies and reports exist that come to the same basic conclusions.

For more information, please contact either Billy Johnson or Bob Ensinger.

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