In 2021, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is continuing undertaking efforts to ban crumb rubber – recycled rubber granulate from shredded end-of-life tires – from artificial turf and playgrounds. ECHA’s intent to restrict the use of crumb rubber started back in 2019 when the organization, allegedly, found a scientific evidence against the use of recycled tire rubber in synthetic turf. Despite ECHA’s assertions, there hasn’t been a single scientific proof of human health risks caused by crumb rubber in other studies and research carried out by numerous research institutions worldwide.

New chemicals to be assessed

In May 2021, ECHA completed another investigation of crumb rubber infill granules used in synthetic turf concluding that certain chemicals that need a additional, more thorough examination.

ECHA’s assessment was requested by the European Commission yet in 2017 and its most recent Annex XV Investigation Report was published on May 10. The document considers infill substances’ risks to human health as well as environment. However, the report did not include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are being reviewed to be restricted by REACH, or added microplastics, whose restriction is currently in review by the European Commission.

The Investigation report highlights that a further assessment of the prioritized substances is needed. Among them are:

  • Zinc, incl. Zinc oxide and Ziram (ZDMC),
  • Cobalt,
  • PANA (n-1-naphthylaniline) and NMP (1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone),
  • Mercury (Hg).

To learn about completed activities on crumb rubber infill restriction by ECHA, please proceed to ECHA’s table providing information on the finalized reports and possible follow-up actions.

Report by ECHA

Full Annex XV Investigation Report is available below or can be downloaded directly on ECHA website.

Annex XV Investigation Report by European Chemicals Agency.