A new study found recycled crumb rubber infill to have no risks to public health. 

The study, which appeared in the journal Environmental Research, evaluated all available date in North American on the chemical composition of recycled rubber, as well as air sampling data collected on or near synthetic turf fields. Researchers evaluated ingestion, dermal contact, and inhalation pathways according to guidelines set by the EPA, and the study also took into account exposure scenarios for adults, adolescents, and children.

According to the study’s conclusion, the research adds “to the growing body of literature that suggests recycled rubber infill in synthetic turf poses negligible risks to human health. This comprehensive assessment provides data that allow stakeholders to make informed decisions about installing and using these fields.”

From ABTurf Industry Bolsters Defense of Crumb Rubber Safety

Dan Bond, president and CEO of the STC, said the study shows that recycled rubber infill poses no greater health risk than natural grass surfaces. “This risk assessment aligns with more than 90 other peer-reviewed academic studies, third-party reports and federal and state government analyses that also have not found public health concerns from playing on synthetic turf fields with this material,” Bond said. “In just the past 12 months, multiple government agencies, including the Washington State Health Department, Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment and European Chemical Agency have published reports and analyses that have come to a similar conclusion and found no reason to advise people of all ages against playing on synthetic turf fields with recycled rubber infill.” 

The STC notes that there are more than 11,000 synthetic turf field in the United States, and each saves more than 1.5 million gallons of water per year and eliminates the need for 8,000 pounds of pesticides per year. The STC also claims that a single synthetic turf field with recycled rubber diverts 20,000 tires from landfills.

Andy Berg is Executive Editor of Athletic Business.