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‘Is artificial tire crumb turf linked to cancer?’ government investigates

February 15, 2016
The long-term health effects of recycled tire crumb turfs have been questioned for some time now; parents of children who frequently play on these surfaces are naturally concerned. Now, governmental agencies in the US are launching a coordinated effort to answer the question: do these surfaces cause cancer?

Tire crumb is made by breaking down scrap tires and removing 99% of the steel and fabric they contain.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), markets in the US for crumb rubber include new rubber products, playground and other sports surfacing, and rubber-modified asphalt. In 2013, sports surfaces accounted for 17% of the crumb rubber market.

Although previous, limited studies have not shown a link between health risks and playing on fields with tire crumb, the EPA say these studies have not fully investigated the health risk concerns regarding exposure to the artificial turf.

As such, the EPA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are initiating a multi-agency plan to study the effects these surfaces may have on human health.

In 2014, Amy Griffin, assistant soccer coach at the University of Washington, reported to NBC News that she observed a high incidence of lymphoma in young soccer goalies, athletes who must repeatedly dive down into the turf to block goals.

Griffin’s interview and NBC News’ investigation naturally caused alarm for parents and athletes alike.

According to nonprofit Environment and Human Health, most of the cancers that soccer goalies get are lymphomas, which are cancers that are heavily linked to environmental factors. The organization notes that when a specific group comes down with a specific cancer, “it is often caused by an exposure to a specific group of chemical carcinogens that are in that particular environment.”.

Results will be revealed in late 2016(more)

RELATED:
feds tackle synthetic turf safety 2-13-16

 

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