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An Open Letter From FIFA on Artificial Turf Fields

By Denise Valenzuela

Posted in

An Open Letter concerning the potential cancer risk from certain granulate infills
from artificial turf
Both FIFA and UEFA have invested substantial resources in recent years in the
development of artificial turf to ensure more people, more often have more opportunities to
participate in Football at all levels of the game in a safe environment.
Both organizations have both been aware of recent reports that have suggested a potential cancer risk
from certain granulate infills from artificial turf.
FIFA and UEFA have investigated this issue and analysed the risk involved. In particular we have
reviewed the results of numerous studies into this issue and our findings to date are listed below:
The list of publications which FIFA and UEFA have scrutinized is given below.
The studies to date have concluded that “PAHs [Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons] are not
released or at most negligibly released from tyre abradate” (The University of Dortmund Institute
for Environmental Research 1997). Epidemiological studies conducted by the Health Effects
Institute, The World Health Organizations and other investigators do not implicate tyre wear
particles in ambient air as contributing to human health effects (respiratory and cardiovascular
diseases)
In general the material in question are a much finer particulate than the granules used as infill materials in
Football Turf. The research demonstrates that the finer the particles the greater the surface area
and higher potential for chemicals to leach out of the rubber.
The majority of the studies have been on higher surface area particles and have concluded they
are currently acceptable. Therefore the larger granules used in artificial turf will have even less
potential for emissions. For example a study undertaken by the Danish Ministry of the Environment
concluded that the health risk on children’s playgrounds that contained both worn tires and
granulate rubber was insignificant.
The available body of research does not substantiate the assumption that cancer resulting from
exposure to SBR granulate infills in artificial turf could potentially occur.
Prof. Dr. Jiri Dvorak
FIFA
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