TIA applauds EPA study on crumb rubber infill for sports

TIA applauds EPA study on crumb rubber infill for sports

The study concluded that differences in measurements between players using fields with crumb rubber infill and those using grass fields were negligible.

A recent federal study, led by multiple agencies, has delivered findings regarding chemical exposure among sport players on synthetic turf fields with crumb rubber infill. The research, hailed as the largest of its kind in the United States, provides strong evidence backing the safety and environmental benefits of recycled rubber, TIA says.

“The Tire Industry Association (TIA) extends its gratitude to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal entities involved in this landmark initiative for reaffirming the public’s confidence in the use of recycled rubber,” said Roy Littlefield, TIA’s vice president of government affairs,. “TIA has been a staunch advocate for crumb rubber and has actively opposed state-level legislation seeking to restrict its use.”

The study, which assessed human exposure to chemicals associated with crumb rubber made from recycled tires, including organic chemicals, metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), concluded that differences in measurements between players using fields with crumb rubber infill and those using grass fields were negligible. Air emissions were found to be similar; metal concentrations were comparable to those in the general population, and there were no significant differences in PAHs.

Moreover, the report revealed that players using synthetic turf fields with crumb rubber infill were exposed to levels of specific chemicals—pyrene, benzo[a]pyrene, zinc, and lead—that were similar to or even lower than those of the general public. These findings underscore that playing sports on synthetic turf containing recycled rubber poses no elevated health risk, aligning with previous studies.

In summary, while chemicals are present in tire crumb rubber and exposure is possible, the report suggests that such exposure is likely limited. The Federal Research Action Plan on the Use of Tire Crumbs in Playing Fields, launched in 2016, has played a role in addressing concerns surrounding crumb rubber infill. The collaborative efforts of various agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, have resulted in these findings.

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