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Crumb Rubber Study – CalRecycle

By Denise Valenzuela

Posted in

We are curating content for a 2015 study on Artificial turf crumb rubber safety.  The study was conducted by CalRecycle.  For the complete study click here.  Below is a summery of the findings which indicate crumb rubber in synthetic turf provides no human health or safety risks.

CalRecycle is dedicated to reducing impacts to the environment through waste reduction, material reuse, and responsible recycling. At the same, CalRecycle’s highest priority is, and will always be, protecting human health and safety. Because of this, CalRecycle has sponsored and coordinated studies and has diligently reviewed numerous other studies  examining potential human health effects regarding the use of recycled tires for playgrounds, infill for artificial sports fields, and other uses.

A relatively recent study, published in 2010, was coordinated by CalRecycle and executed by California’s authority on environmental health hazards, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). That investigation, using rigorous scientific standards, also compiled the existing body of scientific work on the subject.

At the conclusion of the study, OEHHA did not find any significant risk to human health (either cancer or noncancer) from tire-derived crumb rubber used in artificial sports fields. In particular, the large majority of air samples collected from above artificial turf had VOC concentrations below the limit of detection.

For VOCs that Page 5 of 5 were detected, OEHHA conducted a screening-level estimate of health risks for both chronic and acute inhalation exposure scenarios. All exposures were below health-based screening levels, suggesting that adverse health effects were unlikely to occur in persons using artificial turf.  In addition, PM2.5 and associated elements (including lead and other heavy metals) were either below the level of detection or at similar concentrations above artificial turf athletic fields and upwind of the sampled fields.

CalRecycle and OEHHA continue to objectively evaluate the entirety of scientific studies and evidence on this issue, but are unaware of any new scientific studies indicating that adverse health impacts from such exposures are likely. Accordingly, CalRecycle believes that the use of recycled tires in playgrounds or crumb rubber used as infill for artificial sports fields is appropriate. Since 2001, CalRecycle has awarded, through various grant programs, approximately $45 million to cities, counties, and school districts for playgrounds, running tracks, landscaping, infill for artificial sports fields, and other uses.

CalRecycle will continue to provide funding for these projects, as well as other uses for waste tires, in an effort to divert this material from landfills in a responsible and sustainable manner, unless credible scientific evidence is obtained that would warrant a change in this policy. At the same time, CalRecycle and OEHHA are dedicated to furthering scientific study of this issue.

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