A European study has confirmed that there are no health risks to playing football on synthetic turf with rubber granules from recycled tires. The three parts of the study have now been published in the prestigious journal Science of the Total Environment.
The ERASSTRI study has been ongoing for three years and has been conducted in three sub-studies under the guidance of the German research institute FoBiG.
The overall goal was to evaluate how substances contained in synthetic turf with recycled rubber can affect human health. “The study could not find any noticeable health risks associated with this, despite conservative calculations of high exposure,” says Dr Klaus Schneider, responsible for the study and toxicologist / chemist at Forschungs- und Beratungsinstitut Gefahrstoffe GmbH in Freiburg.
During the first sub-study, all substances that may be present in recycled rubber were identified. The study collected and analyzed 86 samples from recycling companies and synthetic turf fields in 14 countries, including Sweden. Both the content of different substances such as metals and PAH as well as the volatility of the substances were analyzed in the laboratory environment.
In the second sub-study it was studied how the substances contained in the granules can migrate to players on synthetic turf. Here, samples were taken from the air above the synthetic turf field as well as by wiping hands and knees on football players. Laboratory studies were also conducted on how substances can migrate to sweat, saliva and stomach acid as it cannot be excluded that children eat or chew on granules or that adults get granules by mistake.
In the third sub-study, calculations were finally made about how much substances the players on synthetic turf are exposed to and what risk they are thus exposed to. A total average exposure of 48.5 years was expected for players, from 1.5 years of age to 50 years of age. The number of occasions per month varied between 8 and up to 24 times and the training time between 1.5 and 4 hours of different ages. Thereafter, exposure time was calculated via skin contact, inhalation and ingestion of granules by mouth. The result was that an average player is exposed to very low exposure to substances, even if you spend a lot of time on a synthetic turf field and that the exposure, together, does not entail any health risks.
The study “The European Risk Assessment Study on Synthetic Turf Rubber Infill” (ERASSTRI) was initiated by the European tire and recycling industry and was conducted under the direction of the German research institute FoBiG. The results of all three parts of the study have now been published in the scientific the journal Science of the Total Environment.