The federal government recently launched an investigation into the safety
of artificial turf fields and playgrounds. Researchers will study whether
the play surface, which is made from recycled tires, poses health concerns
The Health Risks of Crumb Rubber
Synthetic turf made of crumb rubber is a popular alternative to grass because
it is easier and cheaper to maintain. It is now found in tens of thousands
of parks, playgrounds, schools, and stadiums across the United States.
Because the artificial turf is made from ground up tires, any of the chemicals
found in the tires — benzene, carbon black, mercury and lead —
are also in the turf. While the risks of inhalation, ingestion, and skin
exposure have not been conclusively established, initial studies have
shown that crumb rubber could put children at risk for cancer and other
health conditions. Accordingly, some cities and towns have already made
the decision to stop using it.
The Federal Investigation into Artificial Turf
In January, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Bill Nelson called on
the Obama Administration to launch a multi-agency investigation into the
safety concerns surrounding synthetic turf. In response, the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency
for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and the Consumer Product
Safety Commission (CPSC) recently announced that they will work together
on the federal study that aims to determine whether artificial turf made
from crumb rubber poses any long-term health hazards for children.
While the lawmakers acknowledged that the scientific evidence regarding
the risks of crumb rubber is still incomplete, they noted that early research
suggests a link to cancer. In their letter to President Obama, the
Senators specifically cited a report from the University of Washington, where soccer coach Amy Griffin found there are now 153 reported cancer
cases involving athletes who spent significant periods of time playing
on synthetic turf with crumb rubber infill. Of the reported cases, 124
of the athletes are soccer players, of which 85 percent played goalie.
“Given that millions of children and young athletes play on crumb
rubber synthetic surfaces every day, this correlation with cancer cannot
be ignored,” Sens. Blumenthal and Nelson wrote. We will be closely
following the investigation and posting updates as they become available.
If you or someone you care about has suffered serious harm due to dangerous
product, don’t hesitate to contact
a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free
consultation. Our legal team has successfully represented clients against
manufacturers and distributors for more than 30 years.