A report published by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) on Tuesday indicated that there is little cause for concern regarding exposure to chemicals as a result of contact with synthetic turf surfaces and recycled crumb rubber infill.
The Helsinki-based agency said in its report that based on current available evidence, it “has found no reason to advise people against playing sports on synthetic turf containing recycled rubber granules as infill material.”
Though the agency said that there are a number of hazardous substances found in many infills, the concentration of these substances is low enough as to not pose dangerous risks.
“The concern to players and workers is negligible given the available, although limited, migration data for metals, which are below the limits allowed in the current toys legislation,” the report reads.
In compiling its report, the ECHA considered exposure by skin contact, ingestion and inhalation, and concluded that “there is at most a very low level of concern.”
The conclusions corroborate the results of previous studies, including the January study conducted by the Washington State Department of Health that found no links between turf and cancer risk.
The agency compiled a list of recommendations for regulators, synthetic turf field owners and operators, crumb rubber producers, sports associations and player based on its evaluation. The agency recommends that players follow basic hygiene practices including hand washing, cleaning cuts, and avoiding swallowing crumb rubber.
Despite the positive outlook based on current information, the report admits that some uncertainties remain and more research is required.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency is expected to produce a report on recycled tire crumb rubber later this year.
You can read the full ECHA report here.