• Wed. May 22nd, 2024

EPA allays health-scare SBR

SBR infill

A multi-agency research initiative in the US that examined sport players’ chemical exposure on synthetic turf fields using crumb rubber infill, has concluded no difference in exposure to certain chemicals, metals, or air emissions among players regardless of whether the playing field was synthetic with crumb rubber infill or turf.

The initiative was headed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In general, the findings from the entire playing fields portion of the FRAP activities (both the Tire Crumb Characterization Part 1 and the Tire Crumb Exposure Characterization Part 2 combined) support the conclusion that although chemicals are present (as expected) in the tire crumb rubber and exposures can occur, they are likely limited.

The Federal Research Action Plan (FRAP) on the use of tire crumbs in playing fields was launched in 2016 to help address concerns about the use of crumb rubber infill.

The authors of the latest report (which can be downloaded here) point out that “risk is a function of both hazard (toxicity) and exposure. Understanding what is present in the material and how individuals are potentially exposed is critical to understanding potential risk.”

In its previous report, the scientist established what is present in the material. This second document explains how individuals are potentially exposed to those materials.

The study activities completed as part of this multi-agency research effort were not designed, and are not sufficient by themselves, to directly answer questions about potential health risks. Other studies may aid in this regard. The report’s findings are the result of a multi-agency effort including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in collaboration with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Reaffirms other research

The Synthetic Turf Council (STC) thanked EPA for the study. “We thank the EPA for the dedication and time that went into this report and are pleased to see it reaffirms what other research has shown: synthetic turf and its system components are safe,” said Melanie Taylor, President and CEO of STC in a statement published on their website. “Synthetic turf systems unlock thousands of hours of additional play across America, save millions of gallons of water annually, and provide a more consistent playing surface. Our industry has long been and remains committed to safety and creating sustainable play spaces, and we are pleased to see that the largest study ever conducted on crumb rubber infill in the country demonstrates there is no elevated health exposure for playing on synthetic turf systems.”

Guy Oldenkotte

Guy Oldenkotte is senior editor of sportsfields.info and has been covering the outdoor sportssurfaces market and industry since 2003

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