US authorities: Synthetic turf with crumb rubber infill safe to use

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) have released a wide-ranging report on crumb rubber infill used in synthetic turf fields.

It is the largest study ever conducted on the topic and was launched to help address concerns raised by the public about potential exposures and health effects due to the use of recycled tire rubber used on fields as infill material. Another goal was to review the safety characteristics and to characterise the chemicals associated with tire crumb rubber, as well as to identify how people may be potentially exposed to those chemicals based on their activities on synthetic turf fields.

Although Europe has already started the generational move to organic infill, many other global markets will welcome these findings.

In summary the report states: “As expected, a range of metals, semivolatile organic compounds, volatile organic compounds and bacteria were detected in recycled tire crumb rubber infill. […] Although chemicals are present in the tire crumb rubber and exposures can occur, they are likely limited. For example, only small amounts of most organic chemicals are released from tire crumb into the air through emissions. […] No differences in PAH (Polyaromatic hydrocarbon) metabolites in urine were observed between study participants using synthetic turf fields compared to those using grass fields.” 

Read more and download the report here.

Martin Sheppard, Chair of IAKS Outdoor Sports Surfaces Expert Circle said “This findings allow the industry to have confidence to continue the focus on how synthetic surface technology can ‘Change the Narrative’ of being part of the equation to provide greater opportunities for children and young people to be active, play, recreate and participate in community sport. On behalf of the global sports and leisure facility industry we are pleased to read this indepth, peer reviewed report that will provide confidence moving forward.”

synthetic turf pitch_Edinburgh_credit Silke Bardenheuer

credit: IAKS (Silke Bardenheuer)