Good news came from the answer to the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) from the Portuguese team members of the CEN/TC 366, department responsible for the standardization of recycled materials obtained from end-of-life tires (ELT) of European Committee of Standardization, on how crumb rubber affects human health.

Throughout the world, there has been an ongoing debate on whether athletes of synthetic turf fields are exposed to risk of cancer. This debate has been affecting the tire recycling industry and the use of crumb rubber infill in various applications, even far beyond the use of artificial turf.

The Portuguese Technical Commission “Recycled Products from Tyres” (CT-181), the Portuguese Association of Rubber Industry (APIB), and the Chemical Engineering Department of IST (Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal), have been actively participating in the chemical research for the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) with regard to rubber infill materials, resulting from tire recycling, used in synthetic turf systems.

Below, we cite the recent answer of CT-181, presided by Vasco Pampulim, to ECHA included in its formal answer to ECHA to the “Call for comments and evidence on recycled rubber granules”:

“As the President of CT-181 working since a long time in a Portuguese tyre recycling company, regarding the determination of the PAHs content in tyre recycled rubber granulates as infill products for synthetic turf, I have many routine chemical analysis on this subject done by TUV Rheinland Group; as illustration, I show in attachment one of these analytical test results, dated 28.07.2006, where it can be seen the criteria and the results of the 16 PAHs analysed. It must be said that this type of Lab tests have been considered in EU during many years as a standard for the health risks approval of rubber infill recycled rubber products.”

In addition, technical information regarding health risks was shared by Mr. Pampulim:

“I take the opportunity to share some technical information related with the issue “eventual health risks motivated by PAHs of crumb rubber used as rubber infill”, showing them as attachments in the SECTION IV:

  • Answer submitted to ECHA – Call for comments and evidence on recycled rubber granules with the individual PDF attachments (2016-01-09)
  • TUV test for determination of 16 PAHs in a sample of crumb rubber (2006-07-28, TUV)
  • Hydroxypyrene in urine of football players after playing on synthetic turf (2010, official Netherlands entities)
  • Examination on ELT granulates (2016-12-20, ICTPOL)
  • Dutch study found synthetic turf safe (2016-12-22, ERJ)
  • Study of the uptake of PAHs by workers of crumb rubber plants (2017, ICTPOL)“

As a final opinion, based in this last ICTPOL study, and considering also many other technical reports on this issue, CT-181 is firmly convinced that the use of crumb rubber as synthetic turf rubber infill doesn’t pose any significant additional health risk to football players or stadium spectators. Source: Vasco Pampulim

Article by Vasco Pampulim.