Image source:

Good news for crumb rubber producers is coming from Helsinki, Finland. Recently, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) concluded yet another study on health effects of crumb rubber infill in the artificial turf. Results of the study say there is “at most, a very low level of concern” from exposure to recycled rubber.

Incentive to conduct a study came from the European Commission in June 2016 in order to assess how much real risk recycled rubber poses to the general population including professional players, children and workers who maintain or install synthetic rubber fields and pitches.

In a report issued on February 28, ECHA said it considered a number of ‘hazardous substances’ in crumb rubber, among them were: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals, phthalates, volatile organic hydrocarbons (VOCs) and semi-volatile organic hydrocarbons (SVOCs).

The agency based in Helsinki asserted that researchers carefully looked into effects of these substances contacting the skin. Based on results of the research, ECHA concluded that there is, at most, a very low level of concern from exposure to recycled rubber granules. ECHA added that concerns for cancer risk are very low given the volume of PAHs normally found in European synthetic turf fields. In addition, ECHA mentioned that concern from metals is negligible, as levels are far below the limits allowed by the current toys legislation. Furthermore, levels of phthalates, benzothiazole and methyl isobutyl ketone “are below the concentrations that would lead to health problems.”

At the same time, ECHA made a number of suggestions to shed light on uncertainties including changes to REACH regulation. These measures would ensure all granules supplied on the market have low concentrations of PAHs and contain no hazardous substances. Another measure which could ensure safety of athletes, according to ECHA, is the need to frequently measure concentrations of hazardous substances and PAHs in the rubber granules which are used in synthetic turf fields. This information, the organization pointed out, should become available to interested parties in an understandable manner.

Article source: European Rubber Journal