From today, the concentration limit of eight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in rubber granules and mulches used as infill on sports pitches and playgrounds has been reduced to 20 mg/kg.
The new legislation applies to any kind of infill material that is used in so-called 3G-pitches or playgrounds. While polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are best associated with crumb rubber, they can also appear in mulch used for playgrounds. The restriction will not affect existing fields immediately but will ensure that any infill material used for refilling the fields is below the new limit.
In 2017, the Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (RIVM) – the Dutch institute for health and safety – and the European Chemicals Agency concluded that the concentration limit for mixtures of the eight PAHs they calculated during their research is too high to guarantee safe supply and use of these granules in synthetic turf pitches.
At the time, the RIVM showed that there is an excess cancer risk for workers and the general public exposed to rubber granules containing the calculated mixture concentration limit of 387 mg/kg of the sum of the eight PAHs, whereas at a much lower level of concentration, the probability that an individual’s exposure to the listed PAHs could result in cancer was estimated to be considerably lower.
As it was estimated that 95% of the end-of-life tyre-derived infill material would comply with a 15 to 21 mg/kg limit of the sum of the eight PAHs and would be technically and economically feasible, a concentration limit was proposed.
Entry 50 of Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 now includes paragraphs that state:
Granules or mulches shall not be placed on the market for use as infill material in synthetic turf pitches or in loose form on playgrounds or in sport applications if they contain more than 20 mg/kg (0,002% by weight) of the sum of all listed PAHs.
Granules or mulches shall not be used as infill material in synthetic turf pitches or in loose form on playgrounds or in sport applications if they contain more than 20 mg/kg (0,002% by weight) of the sum of all listed PAHs.