EPA Report Finds No Adverse Health Effects in Recycled Tire Crumb Rubber Used on Playing Fields

May 24, 2024, 07:30 AM
Content author:
Arnulfo Moreno
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Synthetic turf field with goal

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released reassuring findings that there is no difference found when using recycled crumb rubber on synthetic turf playing fields and playgrounds when compared to grass fields.  The research was a multi-agency effort that included the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  

“The recycled materials industry appreciates the extensive work done by the EPA and coordinating agencies to examine the use of recycled rubber in play surfaces,” said ReMA Chief Lobbyist Billy Johnson. “Reaffirming that recycled rubber creates a great recreational area to play and compete aligns with the previous research.”  

According to the report, this research effort represents the largest tire crumb rubber study conducted in the United States. It started in February of 2016 amid concerns raised about potential exposures and health effects due to the use of recycled tire and rubber used as infill materials. The agency reporting was broken into two parts. Part I, released in 2019, communicated the research objectives, methods, results and findings for the tire crumb rubber characterization research (i.e., what is in the material). Part 2, released in April 2024, includes data to characterize potential human exposures to the chemicals found in the tire crumb rubber material while using synthetic turf fields. 

One of the key findings from Part 2 of the report shows that only small amounts of organic chemicals are released from tire crumb into the air through emissions. For many chemicals measured during active play at the outdoor fields, concentrations in air were not different than background samples. The report also highlighted that concentrations for metals measured in blood were similar to those in the general population. 

A significant finding was that there were no differences in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) metabolites in urine between study participants using synthetic turf fields compared to those using grass fields.  

To view the full report, visit the EPA website. 

Synthetic turf field with goalThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released reassuring findings that there is no difference found...
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