PAH restriction one step closer

The European Commission has notified the World Trade Organisation of its intention to introduce a new restriction on Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) found in granules and mulch used in, for example, synthetic turf and playgrounds.

The restriction proposal lowers the total concentration limit of 8 PAHs to 20 mg/kg (0.002 % by weight).  The concentration limits for PAHs in mixtures supplied to the general public are currently set at 100 mg/kg or 1 000 mg/kg for each of the substances.

The aim of the proposed restriction is to ensure that the cancer risk from PAH exposure remains at a low level for those coming into contact (inhalation and skin contact) with the granules and mulches. This includes, for example, footballers, children playing on the pitches or playgrounds and workers installing and maintaining such surfaces.

The proposal does not affect existing fields but will ensure that the material used for maintaining (refilling) the fields is below the new limit.

As the European tyre production industry has set a limit of 10 mg/kg itself already, it is safe to say that SBR derived from granulating European tyres will probably comply with the proposed limit.

It is anticipated that the proposed restriction will be adopted by the EC in the first quarter of 2021. The restriction applies to the content of all forms of polymeric infill and will not affect infill that is already in the field.

The European Standards Committee (CEN) has already introduced EN 17409 Code of Practice for the sampling of performance infill, which will help demonstrate compliance with REACH restrictions on PAHs in performance infill.

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