VACO, the Dutch trade organization for new tyres, and RecyBEM, the Dutch organization responsible for collecting and responsibly recycling tyres published a press release on November 27, 2016 addressing NOS* news about rubber crumb to be absolutely incorrect. According to VACO and RecyBEM the editors of NOS posted improper and suggestive message on the results of the investigation that the tire industry is performing on rubber granules.
The conclusion of NOS that there have been “relatively many carcinogens” is incorrect. Other than this cup suggests, there are no more substances found in the grains than expected. It’s been known for decades that Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in car tires, and also in rubber granules from car tires, occur. Also, it has been known for years what these are and in what concentrations. It is therefore not true that “so far it was not known how high the concentration of carcinogenic substances”, as stated by NOS.

According to NOS “hundreds fields were commissioned by the tire industry”  in recent weeks. This is not right. There have now been fifty fields examined and several hundred will be examined in the coming weeks, on request of municipalities and associations.
The NOS writes that the tested fields have higher concentrations of carcinogens than allowed in consumer products. However, the rubber granules are no consumer products. The legislation includes maximum levels for so-called ‘objects’ (where, for example baby tests fall within) and “mixtures”. The rubber granules in the REACH legislation by the EC are classified as a “mixture”. The concentrations of PAHs that are found in the rubber granules are more than ten times lower than the maximum acceptable standard premixes.
PAHs are chemical compounds that may arise, for example during barbecue and combustion processes. They arise even at low concentrations in the production of some raw materials for car tires. Incidentally, the PAHs are physically trapped in the matrix of tire rubber. They cannot leak, nor to be absorbed through skin contact. Several international scientific studies conducted by governments, universities and research institutes have concluded that the bioavailability of PAHs in the SBR rubber granulates used is in such limited amounts that there is no health risk associated with artificial grass.
The proposition that “four of the eight substances in many fields are found in higher concentrations,” as written by NOS, suggests that there was unusually high concentrations in four PAHs. That suggestion is incorrect. The detected concentrations of individual PAHs vary, and in many cases they are lower than 5 parts per million, or 5 mg/kg. There are also more than eight PAHs measured, namely 18, contrary to what the NOS declared.
The NOS further elaborates that the current standard to be an environmental standard, so harm will be measured based on the damage to the environment and not for consumer safety. This is absolutely not true. REACH is a legislation which oversees consumer safety in a correct way, in addition to the environmental aspect. Literally, the responsible European institution ECHA writes: “REACH is an EU regulation adopted in order to better protect human health and the environment from the risks that chemicals can produce…”
The editors of the NOS are also responsible of false reporting. Research on this issue has been extensively researched and results are published in many scientific publications in leading journals. Each one concludes: there is no risk to people through doing sports on the artificial turf with rubber infill. These conclusions are drawn by scientifically calculating exposure risks.
“It is with indignation that this is again a statement of false and suggestive reports, and then also by the NOS,” says Kees van Austria, director of RecyBEM. “In view of the sensitivity, it is of great importance that there is a precise message about this topic. The Zembla broadcast was also very suggestive, but did not show any new scientific knowledge, and created a lot of panic among parents with no objective reason. Media is also responsible for that.”
*) NOS is a Dutch based public broadcaster, http://nos.nl/.
Note by the editor: This article was translated from Dutch into English. weibold! rejects any liability for the correctness of the translation. The reader is responsible for checking with the original version. A link to the original press release is provided here.