[No. 99] Electron, Washington – Score another one for the environment - Feds order owner of dam to clean up contamination caused by crumb rubber from unauthorized use of artificial turf in a construction project.September 2020.
[No. 98] European Chemical Agency’s scientific committees support restricting ploy polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in granules and mulches made of rubber.October 2019.
[No. 97] US study (not a risk assessment) claims human exposure to chemicals in crumb rubber “appears to be minimal,” but no word yet on effects of long-term and/or cumulative exposure. August 2019.
[No. 96] Danish political parties agree on combating microplastic pollution, including from artificial turf fields. March 2019.
[No. 95] Westport, Connecticut - Representative Town Meeting bans crumb rubber from playing fields. December 2018.
[No. 94] Wayland, Massachusetts – Replacement of artificial turf field adjacent to protected wetlands area is made subject to strict water quality and infill/plastic migration protocols. December 2018.
[No. 93] Weymouth, Massachusetts – Conservation commission concerns have been addressed by use of “organic infill.”October 2018.
[No. 92] Following a number of other Europeans agencies, now the French Agency for Food, Environment and Occupational Health and Safety (Anses) supports the restriction on polycyclic-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in rubber crumb used for play and sporting applications. October 2018.
[No. 91] European Chemical Agency, Lower concentration limit proposed for PAHs found in granules and mulches - ECHA/PR/18/12 - September 2018.
[No. 90] Sweden – Chemicals Inspectorate recommends against crumb rubber infill for artificial turf fields. August 2018.
[No. 89] The Netherlands - Health authorities warn against human health and environmental dangers of crumb rubber. August 2018.
[No. 88] Norway’s EPA proposes rules about microplastic pollution from artificial turf.August 2018.
[No. 87] Benoit & Demars: Results demonstrate that recycled tire materials contain and can release a wide variety of substances known to be toxic, and caution would argue against their use where human exposure is likely. May 2018.
[No. 77] Study from the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) shows crumb rubber PAHs transferring readily to water and air. May 2018.
[No. 76] Oslo, Norway – Environment Minister wants rules designed to reduce the spread of “microplastic” from artificial turf. March 2018.
[No. 75] San Mateo, California - Civil Grand Jury calls for pause on fake turf crumb rubber at schools. August 2017.
[No. 74] Dundee, Scotland – European Chemical (Ch) Agency (ECHA) is considering a ban on use of crumb rubber in artificial soccer fields amid cancer fears. August 2017.
[No. 73] Juneau, Alaska – Playground with rubber mulch goes up in thick black smoke. June 2017.
[No. 72] Central City, Kentucky – Rubber tire mulch warehouse goes up in smoke; second rubber fire in as many years. June 2017.
[No. 71] Duluth, Minnesota – Parent: My daughter was covered from head to toe in black dust!June 2017.
[No. 70] Minneapolis, Minnesota – City prohibits the use of City funds for the installation or replacement of any facilities or amenities using waste tires, including the use of waste tire crumb rubber and waste tire mulch. May 2017.
[No. 69] Fort Jones, California – ScottValleyUnifiedSchool District has voted to remove the shredded tire mulch from both elementary schools. May 2017.
[No. 68] Duluth, Minnesota - Results from two eighth graders’ scientific research validates School Board’s decision to rid the playgrounds of tire mulch. May 2017.
[No. 67] Free University Amsterdam Study: Rubber granules in fact release chemicals that may cause harmful effects in humans; they do kill zebrafish embryos. March 2017.
[No. 66] Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Amsterdam says no to crumb rubber, no matter what an ongoing study will conclude. January 2017.
[No. 65] Research study finds at high temperatures of artificial athletic field surfaces the crumb rubber infill can become the source of a water soluble agent with mutagenic potential. December 2016.
[No. 64] Dutch clubs are up in arms over crumb rubber! November 2016.
[No. 63] The Feds announce their research protocol for crumb rubber. October 2016.
[No. 62] Duluth, Minnesota – School district ditches rubber mulch. September 2016.
[No. 61] Sea Cliff, long Island, New York – NorthShoreSchool District on Long Island says no to rubber mulch in playgrounds.Augusdt 2016.
[No. 60] European Commission is to look into health risks of playing on crumb rubber infill. July 2016.
[No. 59] Baylor/Rice Study: Carbon black is not good for the lungs. June 2016.
No. 58 No matter the language, crumb rubber artificial turf fields sounds nasty in any tongue. April 2016.
No. 57 U.S. Federal Research on Recycled Tire Crumbs Used on Playing Fields. March 2016.
No. 56 Details of YaleUniversity’s Metal Analysis of Crumb Rubber Infill and Playground Mulch (2015).March 2016.
No. 55 European Union is looking into legislation to restrict the use of crumb rubber in artificial turf fields. March 2016.
No. 54 Hartford, Connecticut: New Zoning Code bans crumb rubber and other synthetic infills from artificial turf landscapes.February 2016.
No. 53 Washington, DC: US Senators Blumenthal and Nelson ask POTUS to initiate a comprehensive study into the potential health risks posed by crumb rubber playing surfaces. February 2016.
No. 52 Linda Chalker-Scott on toxicity of rubber mulch made from used tires. January 2016.
No. 51 Empire State Consumer Project’s 2015 Children’s Products Safety Report re-raises concern over use of crumb rubber infill in athletic fields and rubber mulch in gardens and on playgrounds. January 2016.
No. 49 Yale Study (2015): Harmful ingredients in crumb rubber and their effect on human health. October 2015.
No. 48 Santa Rosa, California: SonomaCounty football fields going with plant-derived infill over crumb rubber because of safety concerns. September 2015.
No. 47 More details from the EHHI Study at Yale University. July 2015.
No. 46 Scientists and health professionals are concerned about children playing on crumb rubber. July 2015.
No. 45 Carbon nanotubes as dangerous as asbestos.June 2015.
No. 44 Worcester, Massachusetts: Sports surfaces consultant on crumb rubber. June 2015.
No. 43 WestSonomaCounty: San Francisco Bay Area, California: No crumb rubber infill for Sebastopol’s AnalyHigh School and Forestville’s El Modino High School playing fields. April 2015.
No. 42 Frankfurt, Kentucky: Energy and Environment Cabinet suspends the crumb rubber grant program for playing surfaces, supports a national study to measure impacts of recreational use of crumb rubber surfacing; House of Representatives passes a resolution applauding the EEC. April 2015.
No. 41 Santa Rosa, California: WestSonomaUnionHighSchool District says no to crumb rubber infill.April 2015.
No. 40 Rayton, Kansas: Retired Goodyear tire engineer says toxic and carcinogenic chemicals in ground rubber are absorbed by the body and breathed into the lungs.April 2015.
No. 39 San Mateo, California: Crumb rubber infill is ruled out at Los Prados Park. March 2015.
No. 38 Montgomery County, Maryland, joins New York City, Newton (Masssachusetts), Los Angeles Unified School District, and Los Angeles Department of Recreation & Parks to move away from crumb rubber infill in artificial turf fields. March 2015.
No. 37 RAMP’s analysis of synthetic turf chemicals (October 2007)—new link. January 2015.
No. 36 Medway, Massachusetts: Turf Grass Forum addresses use of crumb rubber in artificial turf fields. November 2014.
No. 35 Nanoparticles of carbon black and other substances of concern in crumb rubber. October 2014.
No. 34 Andrew McNitt: Between 6,000 and 7,000 pounds of crumb rubber can come out [migrate] of a field each year. June 2014.
No. 33 Before using pulverized styrene butadiene, consider this. April 2014.
No. 32 Study: Risk of ingesting lead increases as size of crumb rubber gets smaller. December 2012.
No. 31A University of Santiago de Compostela(Spain) research confirms existence of dangerous chemicals in crumb rubber and other used-tire products. March 2016.
No. 31 Spanish research confirms existence of dangerous chemicals in crumb rubber and other used-tire products. October 2012.
No. 30 Dr. David Brown, toxicologist, discusses crumb rubber in artificial turf fields. October 2012.
No. 29 Carbon black nanoparticle in crumb rubber raises further concern about artificial turf fields. November 2010.
No. 28 What’s new is old news: Research professor warns about crumb rubber toxicity. April 2009.
No. 27 New York City: Out with the crumb rubber! February 2009.
No. 26 New York City says goodbye to crumb rubber infill (July 2008).
No. 25 "Synthetic Fields: A Question of Ingestion" - a video clip (June 2008).
No. 24 "Same old, same old" review of existing literature (NYC Dept of Health Report, May 2008).
No. 23 Dr. David Brown, EHHI, on video: "Are Artificial Turf Fields Safe?" (February 2008).
No. 22 Trust for Public Land (New York City) switches from crumb rubber. (February 2008).
No. 19 Concern over synthetic turf is not going away.
No. 18 Toxic Turf [text and video news report].
No. 17 Doctor urges caution on fake turf.
No. 16 Editor's Note: UNEP/Bael Convention and other international legal materials.
No. 15 Italy: Syntehtic turf fields will be cleaned up!
No. 14 Recyclers used to burining rubber are now idling.
No. 13 Used Tires Killed Reef.
No. 12 Editorial Note: On Toxcity of Rubber Crumb.
No. 11 Rubber infill from used tires [pictures and text].
No. 10 Tire Dust -- an article from November 2005 issue of Ecologist.
No. 09 Four types of rubber infill [Melos].
No. 08 "Hazardous Chemicals in Synthetic Turf," by William Crain and Junfeng Zhang.
No. 07 Banned in Sweden!
No. 06 "Synthetic turf from a chemical perspective, a status report," by the Swedish Chemicals Inspectorate (March 2006): Background, Summary, Conclusions, Recommendations. No. 05 "Potential health and environmental effects linked to artificial turf systems - final report," by Norwegian Building Research Institute (September 2004). No. 04 "Myth of Rubberized Landscapes" by by Linda Chalker-Scott, Ph.D. No. 03 "Environmental impact of highway construction and repair materials on surface and ground waters. Case study: crumb rubber asphalt concrete," by M.F. Azizian, P.O. Nelson, P. Thayumanavan and K.J. Williamson.
No. 02 A Colorado Study.
No. 01 From the Horse's Mouth: Ten cate Thiolon Product Advisory.
No. 00 Hazardous waste [pictorial].
[No. 99] Electron, Washington – Score another one for the environment - Feds order owner of dam to clean up contamination caused by crumb rubber from unauthorized use of artificial turf in a construction project. According to a news report in Seattle Times (3 September 2020), “artificial turf was used in a construction project at the Electron Dam on the PuyallupRiver. Federal regulators have ordered the owners of Electron Dam on the PuyallupRiver to clean up its mess following a spill of rubber debris during unpermitted use of artificial turf in a construction project.
The company must remove all remaining artificial turf from its site, clean up turf debris downriver, fix an inoperable fish ladder at the dam and shut down its construction project at the dam until next summer…. The dam, long known as a killer of federally protected chinook salmon, burst into public controversy last week. The company used artificial turf as an underlayment for a liner during the ongoing construction project. The material is potentially toxic and was not permitted for use in the project, according to an Aug. 7 stop-work order issued by the Corps of Engineers. The spill was brought to light after an employee posted video of the turf being placed in the river on social media, and called out the risk of pollution. The very night after it was laid down on July 29, the river tore pieces of the turf to bits, sending an estimated 4 to 6 cubic yards of tiny black rubber crumbs, hunks of green plastic turf and other debris into the river all the way to Puget Sound’s CommencementBay, according to a consultant’s report on the spill.”
[No. 99] The McGillUniversity Study: More evidence of the crumb rubber toxicity – this time in higher vertebrate. According to an item in REMI Network (5 December 2019), “[s]cientists at McGill University used chicken embryos, a model of higher vertebrate development, to assess the toxicity of environmental pollutants contained in leachate from crumb rubber, found in infill for artificial turf fields and playgrounds. The new study, published in the journal PNAS, by a team of scientists from McGill’s Department of Chemical Engineering and RedpathMuseum and Health Canada, is the first to use chicken eggs as a comprehensive model system for testing environmental toxins. Nathalie Tufenkji, co-senior author of the new study and a professor in McGill’s Department of Chemical Engineering, said the use of a ‘higher vertebrate’ testing model has the advantage of being able to measure system-wide effects of environmental toxins, something for which previous models used to test the toxicity of crumb rubber – such as algae, water fleas, zebra fish and mammalian cell cultures- fell short. ‘We were curious to understand what impact the crumb rubber might have on the environment and wildlife in general,’ Tufenkji said. ‘Precipitation on outdoor fields containing crumb rubber might lead to leaching of chemicals into the environment and how those chemicals may interact with vertebrate development and health are unknown.’ This multidisciplinary effort demonstrated that the early development of chicken embryos is compromised when eggs are exposed to small amounts of water in which rubber crumbs soaked for seven days. When directly injected into the egg yolks, this leachate caused mild to severe malformations, including impaired development of the brain and the cardiovascular system. Hans Larsson, a professor at McGill’s RedpathMuseum, says that their new chicken embryo model will provide useful information about how toxins disrupt embryo development of such a complex animal.” Source: “McGill study reveals toxicity of artificial turf crumb rubber,” In REMI Network, 5 December 2019), at https://www.reminetwork.com/articles/artificial-turf-infill-toxic-chicken-eggs/or here.
The McGill study is entitled, “Artificial turf infill associated with systematic toxicity in an amniote vertebrate,” is co-authored by Elvis Genbo Xu, Nicholas Lin, Rachel S. Cheong, Charlotte Ridsdale, Rui Tahara, Trina Y. Du, Dharani Das, Jiping Zhu, Laura Peña Silva, Agil Azimzada, Hans C.E. Larsson, Nathalie Tufenkji. It was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) – https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/11/19/1909886116 (Nov.-Dec 2019) - https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1909886116 - also see here.
According to the summary of the study, “[a]thletes and children are playing on artificial turfs. However, the health risk associated with exposure to crumb rubber from artificial turfs is unknown for higher vertebrates. Here, we employed chicken embryo as a developing amniote vertebrate model to show that toxic leachate from artificial athletic turf infill impairs the early development of chicken, notably brain and cardiovascular system. This study triggers a scientific discussion as to whether crumb rubber is an appropriate infill material for artificial fields.” Accrdong to the study’s abstract: “Artificial athletic turf containing crumb rubber (CR) from shredded tires is a growing environmental and public health concern. However, the associated health risk is unknown due to the lack of toxicity data for higher vertebrates. We evaluated the toxic effects of CR in a developing amniote vertebrate embryo. CR water leachate was administered to fertilized chicken eggs via different exposure routes, i.e., coating by dropping CR leachate on the eggshell; dipping the eggs into CR leachate; microinjecting CR leachate into the air cell or yolk. After 3 or 7 d of incubation, embryonic morphology, organ development, physiology, and molecular pathways were measured. The results showed that CR leachate injected into the yolk caused mild to severe developmental malformations, reduced growth, and specifically impaired the development of the brain and cardiovascular system, which were associated with gene dysregulation in aryl hydrocarbon receptor, stress-response, and thyroid hormone pathways. The observed systematic effects were probably due to a complex mixture of toxic chemicals leaching from CR, such as metals (e.g., Zn, Cr, Pb) and amines (e.g., benzothiazole). This study points to a need to closely examine the potential regulation of the use of CR on playgrounds and artificial fields.”
Artificial turf containing crumb rubber from shredded tyres has become increasingly common on playgrounds and running tracks. Despite anecdotes about ill health caused by these surfaces, there has been relatively little investigation of them. Now, exposure of chicken embryos to water containing chemicals from crumb rubber reveals it is toxic to their early development, especially their brain and cardiovascular system.1
‘Shockingly we found that half the embryos at day seven were so grossly malformed that they would never have developed,’ says Hans Larsson, comparative biologist at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. The remaining embryos looked fairly normal, but had shorter limbs and significantly less mass. ‘Development of blood vessels was retarded, and brain regions associated with higher order thinking and motor control were diminished in size. ‘We cannot say anything about human health at this point, but we can draw some inferences,’ Larsson says.
Schools, local authorities and sports organisations are replacing grass fields and playgrounds with artificial turf, as it is cheaper, saves water and is easier to maintain. There are already over 11,000 synthetic turf fields in the US and 13,000 in Europe.
Tyre crumb was soaked in water for a week, to simulate artificial turf exposed to rainfall, and then one of three treatments carried out: pipetting 1ml of leachate onto an egg, dipping an egg into leachate for 30 seconds or injecting 12µl into the egg.
Coating or dipping did not harm the embryo at seven days, but the microinjection impaired development. ‘The inferences we draw from the results is that crumb rubber is lethally toxic for chicken embryos and can alter developmental pathways,’ says Larsson. ‘Chickens are not that different from humans, and this should open our eyes to some concerns.’
The effects were likely due to a complex mixture of chemicals leaching from the crumb rubber such as zinc, chromium, lead and arsenic. One particularly concerning chemical is benzothiazole, a potential mutagen and carcinogen.
Most toxicological experiments on crumb rubber have been performed on the tiny crustacean Daphnia and on algae. The effects on higher vertebrates, including humans, are unknown. Over 300 chemicals have been identified in crumb rubber, the paper notes, with 200 predicted to be cancer-causing and genotoxic.
‘Common sense tells us that when you expose developing creatures to a cocktail of plasticisers and heavy metals, one should expect cancers, developmental issues and birth defects,’ says ecotoxicologist Sharon Pochron at Stony Brook University in New York, though this study is ‘the first to verify that expectation’. She previously reported that aged crumb rubber reduces survival time in earthworms.2
Most scientists familiar with the literature on artificial turf conclude that it isn’t very dangerous, but this assessment is problematic, Pochron says. This is because babies and toddlers play on artificial turf in parks and schools and continue to do so throughout childhood. Babies and children are closer to the ground and get larger doses of contamination. ‘They taste crumb rubber, they eat the crumb rubber,’ Pochron adds.
The new results ‘suggest that we should think twice before we release this common contaminant into the environment, especially an environment designed for children and their potentially pregnant mothers’, says Pochron. ‘Having kids romp in a pile of metals and amines just isn’t a great idea.’
‘About 50% of all tyres get recycled into crumb rubber, which goes into artificial turf and playgrounds,’ says Larsson. ‘My own personal feeling is that there are alternatives that do not contain these materials and we should be using those.’
1 E G Xu et al, Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA, 2019, DOI:10.1073/pnas.1909886116.
2 S Pochron et al, Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res., 2018, 25, 11376 (DOI: 10.1007/s11356-018-1433-4).
[No. 98] European Chemical Agency’s scientific committees support restricting ploy polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in granules and mulches made of rubber. According to a ECHA press release, “[t]he Committee for Socio-economic Analysis (SEAC) has adopted its final opinion supporting the proposal for restricting eight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) found in granules and mulches used, for example, in synthetic turf pitches and playgrounds.” … “The aim of the proposed restriction is to ensure that the cancer risk from PAH exposure remains at a low level for those coming into contact (inhalation and skin contact) with the granules and mulches. This includes, for example, footballers, children playing on the pitches or playgrounds and workers installing and maintaining such surfaces.” … “The proposal does not affect existing fields but will ensure that the material used for maintaining (refilling) the fields is below the new limit.” The substances at issue are:Benzo[a]pyrene (BaP); Benzo[e]pyrene (BeP); Benzo[a]anthracene (BaA); Chrysen (CHR); Benzo[b]fluoranthene (BbFA); Benzo[j]fluoranthene (BjFA); Benzo[k]fluoranthene (BkFA); and Dibenzo[a,h]anthracene (DBAhA). According to the press release, ‘[t]he restriction proposal on PAHs concerns risks to human health from the substances present in the infill material of artificial turfs. ECHA is also progressing with its proposal to restrict intentionally added microplastics which aims at reducing potential environmental risks. The granular infill material that is typically used in artificial turf pitches is understood to be an ‘intentionally-added microplastic’.” Source: European Chemical Agency, “ECHA’s scientific committees support restricting PAHs in granules and mulches,” ECHA/PR/19/13, 18 September 2019, at https://echa.europa.eu/-/echa-s-scientific-committees-support-restricting-pahs-in-granules-and-mulches or here.
[No. 97] US study (not a risk assessment) claims human exposure to chemicals in crumb rubber “appears to be minimal,” but no word yet on effects of long-term and/or cumulative exposure. According to a news report on Chemical Watch (26 July 2019), “[a] joint report from two US agencies has found that human exposure to chemicals in tyre crumb rubber ‘appears to be limited’. The finding comes from part of a Federal Research Action Plan (FRAP) on recycled tyre crumb used on playgrounds and synthetic turf playing fields. This multi-agency research project involving the EPA, the Agency for Toxics Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was initiated in 2016. It launched amid growing public concern over the substances contained in recycled rubber. Released 25 July, the EPA and ATSDR’s report communicates the results and findings for the tyre crumb rubber characterisation research. This looked at the substances contained in the materials. The agencies say that the range of chemicals identified in crumb rubber was ‘as expected’, including metals and dozens of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs). But the report says emissions of many of these organic chemicals into the air were found to be below detection limits or background levels, and that releases of metals into simulated biological fluids were very low. Together, these findings ‘support the premise that while chemicals are present as expected in the tyre crumb rubber, human exposure appears to be limited based on what is released into air or simulated biological fluids,’ the report says. The agencies note, however, that this ‘part 1’ report does not constitute a risk assessment. Instead, its findings ‘will advance our understanding of exposure to inform the risk assessment process’ and be useful to the public’s understanding. A ‘part 2’ report – on characterising exposures to people who come in contact with tyre crumbs, tying in information from a biomonitoring study initiated by the ATSDR – will be released at a later date. Also expected at a later date is release of a CPSC study into children’s behaviour in playgrounds. Together with the FRAP part 1 and 2 reports, this will inform a CPSC risk assessment of children’s exposure to playground surfaces made of recycled tyre rubber. The US agencies’ work comes as crumb rubber is subject to scrutiny in the EU. Last year, Echa and the Netherlands proposed restricting concentration limits of polycyclic-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in rubber crumb used for play and sporting applications. Meanwhile, last autumn, the French Agency for Food, Environment and Occupational Health and Safety (Anses), said rubber crumb used on synthetic turf fields poses a negligible risk to athletes and children, but called for more research to address uncertainties that remain.” Source: Kelly Franklin, “US agencies: Human exposure to crumb rubber chemicals 'appears limited' -EPA and ATSDR release findings from characterisation study of synthetic turf material,” on Chemical Watch, 26 July 2019, athttps://chemicalwatch.com/80391/us-agencies-human-exposure-to-crumb-rubber-chemicals-appears-limited .
[No. 96] Danish political parties agree on combating microplastic pollution, including from artificial turf fields. According to an article in Chemical Watch (5 February 2019), “national controls on microplastics pollution in Denmark have been boosted by a cross-party agreement between the government and six other political parties. The 30 January collaboration, formed to reduce plastic pollution and promote a circular plastic economy, comes after the government released an action plan on reducing plastic waste in December… The cross-party agreement came shortly before [European Chemicals Agency] Echa’s publication of its [Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals] REACH Annex XV restriction dossier on the use of intentionally added microplastic particles in all consumer and professional use products. …In the agreement, the parties set 11 actions with two of them covering microplastics…. And the second says the parties will support the EU Commission’s focus to reduce the release of microplastics from tyres and shoe soles and develop a method for measuring tyre wear…. These actions build on more extensive ones from the December national plastics plan, which contains four initiatives specifically targeting microplastics, including a ban in cosmetics….The government is also going to launch an exercise on microplastic discharge from artificial turf pitches. The plan says that quantities and means of microplastic spread from artificial turf pitches to the surrounding environment must be identified “more precisely” with a view to assessing whether initiatives are needed to prevent this. Possible alternatives to rubber granulate, such as cork granules or coconut fibres, should also be considered.” Source: Luke Buxton, “Cross-party agreement bolsters Danish microplastic efforts - Political parties agree plastics collaboration,” in Chemical Watch, 5 February 2019, https://chemicalwatch.com/74047/denmark-rolls-out-measures-to-combat-microplastics
[No. 95] Westport, Connecticut - Representative Town Meeting bans crumb rubber from playing fields. According to a news article on LMTonLine.com (13 December 2018), “[c]oncerned the town’s playing fields may have adverse health impacts on Westport’s kids, the town’s legislative body passed a ban on crumb rummer [sic], or synthetic field infill. ‘Crumb rubber is known to be highly toxic and dangerous in other ways to children and, in fact, all people,’ Representative Town Meeting member Wendy Batteau said of synthetic playing field infill. Batteau and fellow RTM member Ellen Lautenberg spearheaded the effort to craft a ban on synthetic turf. Officially titled, Ordinance prohibiting the application of synthetic infill material on playing fields on town property, the ban passed the RTM unanimously Oct. 16. … Westport put synthetic infill on four of its fields—two at WakemanTownPark, and the other two at StaplesHigh School — in 2006 and 2007, Parks and Recreation Operations Supervisor Dan DeVito said. The lifespan of each field is about 10 years, so the department is looking to replace the four fields during the next two summers, DeVito added. ‘At the time I was not really aware of this issue and I don’t know if people were paying that close attention. People were just happy to have fields that drained better and didn’t have the same issues as grass fields,’ Lautenberg said, adding she’s hoping the town will accelerate the replacement of the synthetic infill with an organic alternative for all four fields this coming summer. In banning synthetic infill, Westport joins Hartford, which prohibited the material in 2016, and cities across the country and in Europe that have ordered public facilities to not use the potentially carcinogenic crumb rubber material.” Source: Sophie Vaughan, “RTM proactively bans crumb rubber artificial turf,” on LMTonLine.com, 13 December 2018, at https://www.lmtonline.com/news/article/RTM-proactively-bans-crumb-rubber-artificial-turf-13464197.php . For the minutes of the October 16th meeting go tohttps://www.westportct.gov/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=16545or
The text of the ordinance provides: “The application of synthetic infill material on any existing playing fields on Westport town property shall be prohibited on and after the effective date of this ordinance.The creation of any new or replacement playing fields on Westport town property using synthetic infill material shall be prohibited on and after the effective [date] of this ordinance.For the purposes of this ordinance, ‘synthetic infill material’ means ambient and cryogenic crumb rubber, coated crumb rubber, ethylene propylene diene monomer granules, and recycled footwear.” For the contents of the first draft of the ordinance go to https://schatzrtm.com/2018/05/21/rtm-meeting-recap-may-7th-and-may-8th/or go here; for the verbiage of the final version go to https://schatzrtm.com/2018/10/02/rtm-agenda-summary-for-october-2-2018/ or go here .
[No. 94] Wayland, Massachusetts – Replacement of artificial turf field adjacent to protected wetlands area is made subject to strict water quality and infill/plastic migration protocols. On 16 November 2018, the Town of Wayland Conservation Commission permitted the replacement of the existing WaylandHigh School’s synthetic turf filed at 264 Old Connecticut Road. The Order of Conditions part of the permitting process under state law on wetlands protection incorporated by reference the Town’s own conditions on the project regarding monitoring of water quality and migration of infill and plastic carpet strands into the protected areas – thereby addressing concerns about the polluting/poisoning effect of artificial turf fields on well water (human consumption) and the health of the nearby wetlands. The conditions attached to the order of conditions subject to state law is found here. The orders of conditions issued subject to Town’s own Water Resources Protection Bylaw is found here . Should results ofmonitoring protocols exceed acceptable levels, the applicant will be required to come up with mitigation in short order, which may include changing to an alternative infill or turning the field into natural grass altogether.
Here are the provisions of the dealing with artificial turf woes issued under the Town’s WRB Bylaws:
28. Subsequent to removal of the existing field and prior to construction of the new field, the locations of monitoring wells shall be specified by the Commission and one round of samples taken to establish a baseline condition for total and dissolved benzene, arsenic, styrene, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, silica, zinc, hardness, and SVOCs including the phthalates BBP, DBP, DEHP, and DIBP. During and after construction, the Applicant shall sample groundwater, any and all cleanout locations within the field drainage system, and the overflow discharge pipe for the above-noted substances monthly for the first year following the initiation of the installation of the field. After the first year, the Applicant may reduce sampling frequency to quarterly, with one round collected during the month of September for the life of the field. Detailed reports including analytical results shall be submitted to the Commission or its Agent upon receipt.
29. In addition to the above-noted sampling, after the infill has been installed the Applicant shall sample groundwater, any and all cleanout locations within the field drainage system, and the overflow discharge pipe for the above-noted substances within 72 hours of any rain event of greater than 2.5 inches. Detailed reports including analytical results shall be submitted to the Commission or its Agent upon receipt.
30. The National Ambient Water Quality Criteria of MCP Method 1 GW-3 or, in the absence of applicable standards for testing particular substances, any peer-reviewed regulatory guidelines shall be used for sampling testing. In the event that sampling results exceed the parameters at any time, the Applicant shall evaluate response actions with a goal of restoring background levels. Such actions could include replacing the infill material with an alternative infill or replacement of the artificial turf field with natural turf. Such response actions shall be submitted to the Commission for review and approval in the form of a Notice of Intent, if required, by the Commission or its Agent, within 90 days of the exceedance.
31. The Applicant shall submit to the Commission for review and approval a protocol and plan for monitoring any migration of infill material and synthetic grass blades from the synthetic turf field to the wetland buffer zone. The plan shall include installation of screens in the stormwater system below grade in the cleanout locations and the overflow discharge pipe to intercept the infill material and synthetic grass blades for regular monitoring and quantification. Maintenance of the screens shall be performed according to the vendor’s standard maintenance practices. The protocol and plan shall also include monitoring of the drainage swale together with the old drainage ditch leading from the end of the 2007 drainage swale to the river. Such a protocol should include at least three transects from the edge of the field towards the wetlands with proposed sampling locations. At these locations, soil samples should be sieved and then crumbs and/or synthetic grass blades quantified. This monitoring shall be done quarterly to determine if the infill material and/or synthetic grass blades do migrate from the site towards or into the wetland buffer zone. Additional sampling points shall be added in the event crumbs and/or synthetic grass blades are detected at the farthest sampling point from the field until no crumbs and/or synthetic grass blades are detected. Detailed reports shall be submitted to the Commission or its Agent within 72 hours of monitoring. In the event that monitoring results exceed a reasonably acceptable level in the opinion of the Commission, the Applicant shall evaluate response actions with a goal of restoring background levels. Such actions could include replacing the infill material with an alternative infill or replacement of the artificial turf field with natural turf. Such response actions shall be submitted to the Commission for review and approval in the form of a Notice of Intent, if required by the Commission or its Agent, within 90 days of the exceedance.
40. Snow removal from the artificial turf field is not recommended. If necessary, snow shall not be removed by plowing or shoveling using conventional equipment. Only specialized equipment shall be used for snow removal operations. Chemicals and other substances shall not be used for treatment of snow and ice. Snow shall not be stored on the field or in the wetland buffer zone.
[No. 93] Weymouth, Massachusetts – Conservation commission concerns have been addressed by use of “organic infill.” Buried in a lengthy article about the renovations at Lovell Field in Weymouth was this little blurb about how environmental concern may have been the driving force behinddecision to go with “organic infill” instead of crumb rubber. The story on WickedLocal (19 September 2018), reported that upon assuming office in January 2016, Mayor Robert Hedlund’s “administration team reviewed the field reuse plan with Activitas Inc., a Dedham based consultant, and they adjusted it to make it less expensive and to address concerns by the conservation commission about metal pieces from the artificial turf falling into the nearby herring run channel. The revisions included placing synthetic grass atop organic fill to prevent metals from falling into the herring channel….” Source: Ed Baker, “Lovell Field upgrades scores win for Weymouth,” on WickedLocal (Stoughton), 19 September 2018, http://stoughton.wickedlocal.com/news/20180919/lovell-field-upgrades-scores-win-for-weymouth
[No. 92] Following a number of other Europeans agencies, now the French Agency for Food, Environment and Occupational Health and Safety (Anses) supports the restriction on polycyclic-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in rubber crumb used for play and sporting applications. According to Chemical Watch (20 September 2018), “[r]ubber crumb used on synthetic turf poses a negligible risk to athletes and children but may potentially harm the environment, the French Agency for Food, Environment and Occupational Health and Safety (Anses) has said. It reached the conclusion after analysing an inventory of more than 50 international studies on the subject, including from Echa and the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). Anses said it supports a proposal by Echa and the Netherlands in August to restrict concentration limits of polycyclic-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in rubber crumb used for play and sporting applications. However, it said more research is needed. Anses identified ‘some methodological limitations’ in the available data – specifically that they ‘do not sufficiently’ take into account the variability of the composition of synthetic soils. Therefore, it argued, ‘uncertainties remain as to the potential health risks associated with these materials, particularly in relation to emissions of volatile compounds.’ The agency recommended carrying out a broader analysis of the pollutants contained and emitted by these aggregates – in particular concerning the dust that may be emitted – to specify occupational exposures. It also urged priority be given to obtaining more data on the specific uses of tyre aggregates in playgrounds. ‘Very little researched to date, these uses involve sensitive populations and concern other products such as glues, dyes, binders [and] smoothing agents.’ More knowledge is also needed, it added, about levels of exposure to synthetic terrain inside buildings and investigate the thermal risk of these coatings. The French Ministry of Sport estimates the number of large-scale synthetic sports fields in the country at around 3,000.” Source: “Anses urges broader analysis of ‘low-risk’ rubber crumb,” in Chemical Watch, 20 September 2018) athttps://chemicalwatch.com/70447/anses-urges-broader-analysis-of-low-risk-rubber-crumb
[No. 91] European Chemical Agency, Lower concentration limit proposed for PAHs found in granules and mulches - ECHA/PR/18/12 (Helsinki, 16 August 2018) .According to a press release by the European Chemical Agency, “[t]he Netherlands has prepared a proposal to support a possible restriction to address the risks from eight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) found in granules and mulches used in synthetic turf pitches, or in loose forms at playgrounds and other sports facilities.
"The proposal, prepared by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in cooperation with ECHA, states that the general concentration limits set under REACH for eight carcinogenic PAHs in mixtures are insufficient for protecting those who come into contact with the granules and mulches while playing at sports facilities and playgrounds. In its assessment, RIVM looks at the human health risk for professional football players (including goalkeepers), children playing on the pitches and on playgrounds, as well as workers installing and maintaining the pitches and playgrounds. The proposal suggests a combined concentration limit for the eight PAHs of 17 mg/kg (0.0017 % by weight). The current concentration limits applicable for supply to the general public are set at 100 mg/kg for two of the PAHs and 1 000 mg/kg for the other six. The proposal of the Netherlands, available on ECHA’s website, outlines that the suggested reduction in the concentration limit would:
- ensure the cancer risk from PAH exposure remains very low for those coming into contact with the granules and mulches;
- decrease societal concerns about the negative health impacts caused by the PAHs;
- lead to no major additional administrative burdens on public authorities in terms of costs for implementing the lower concentration limit; and
- cause relatively limited and affordable societal costs.
"ECHA's committees will now check whether the restriction dossier conforms to the requirements of REACH [Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)]. If so, a six-month long consultation will begin in September 2018. ECHA’s scientific committees will assess the proposal and formulate their opinions, and these will be submitted to the Commission.
"In addition to processing the Netherlands’ proposal, ECHA will assess – as requested by the European Commission – the health risks of other substances that may be contained in granules and mulches used as infill in synthetic sports pitches. It is possible that ECHA will also assess the environmental risks, too.
"[As background] [i]n 2017, both ECHA and RIVM assessed the health risks associated with playing sports on synthetic turf pitches where rubber granules are used as infill material. ECHA concluded in 2017 that there was, at most, a very low level of concern due to the PAHs present in those materials. However, ECHA also gave a number of recommendations to be considered for the future – the first of which was to consider a restriction under REACH to ensure that granules for use as infill material in sports fields are only supplied with very low concentrations of PAHs and of any other relevant hazardous substances.”
[No. 90] Sweden – Chemicals Inspectorate recommends against crumb rubber infill for artificial turf fields. According to an item on Chemical Watch (4 July 2018), “[t]he Swedish Chemicals Agency, Kemi, has said that newly installed artificial turf should not be made from rubber crumb containing hazardous substances. Existing surfaces do not need to be replaced, the agency says, but recommends gradually doing so to help reduce the presence of such substances in the environment. The material contributes to an increased presence of both microplastics and hazardous substances, it says. It is often manufactured from recycled tyres, newly manufactured rubber or thermoplastic. Large amounts of microgranules disperse through rainwater and sports players' shoes and clothes. Examples of substances that can be present include certain polycyclic aromatic substances (PAHs), metals, phthalates and volatile organic compounds. They can be spread spread via leachate, water and purification plants. To purchase or construct such a surface, Kemi advises [ ] not to use granules containing particularly hazardous substances; where possible select alternative materials that do not contain such chemicals; information about content should always be requested from the supplier; and if the artificial turf is to be built indoors the room should be well ventilated. The Swedish EPA has developed a guide for the construction and maintenance of artificial turf." Source: Chemical Watch, “Swedish chemicals agency warns about hazardous substances in artificial turf,” on Chemical Watch, “ 4 July 2018, at https://chemicalwatch.com/68235/swedish-chemicals-agency-warns-about-hazardous-substances-in-artificial-turf
SynTurf.org Note: Among the very first posts on this site was Kemi’s report of 2006, using the method of “recommendation” as a persuasive public policy tool to discourage the use of crumb rubber in artificial turf fields. Seehttp://www.synturf.org/crumbrubber.html (Item No. 06). Kemi at the time send to SynTurf.org a report that analyzed the impact of “recommendations” on eliminating questionable practices, as opposed to legislative or executive bans/fiats. It is worth to revisit that report again – go here for the report.
[No. 89] The Netherlands - Health authorities warn against human health and environmental dangers of crumb rubber. According to an item posted on the website of the Netherland’s National Institute for Public Health and the Environment [Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu - RIVM] of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, “[u]se of rubber granulate sourced from car tyres, on synthetic turf fields can be harmful to the environment in the close vicinity of these fields. Substances leach from rubber granulate and enter the soil in the field border and in the ditches. Children at play and pets or cattle that occasionally ingest soil containing rubber granulate are not at risk. In order to protect the environment, RIVM recommends that measures be taken to prevent the spreading of rubber granulate to the field borders and to limit the emission of substances via the drainage water. Ditch water and groundwater in the natural soil are not contaminated by rubber granulate on the fields. This water is expected to be sufficiently suitable, for example, for spraying vegetable gardens.
This is shown by an exploratory research project conducted by RIVM around 10 synthetic turf pitches of football clubs in the Netherlands. In the study, the quality of the environment around synthetic turf fields containing rubber granulate from car tyres was compared with the environmental quality around real grass fields. At various locations, the concentrations of zinc, cobalt and mineral oil exceed the environmental quality standards for soil and sediment (Soil Quality Decree). The environment is particularly sensitive to high concentrations of zinc; however, zinc is not a health issue for humans.
The environmental impact is caused by the fact that rubber granulate is dragged along by athletes or the public or is dispersed for instance by leaf blowers, and reaches the soil borders up to a few meters distance from the field. In addition, substances from rubber granulate leach into the drainage water: that is rainwater that passes the sport fields and ends up in the field borders via drainpipes to a ditch. In the measured ditch water samples, the concentrations were diluted so that they did not cause any harmful effects. However, most substances bind to particles that precipitate into the sediment, in which effects have been measured. Cobalt, zinc and mineral oil leaching from rubber granulate can accumulate in the technical sublayers of the synthetic turf. From there they can, in the short or long term, further leach to the environment. This was shown by studies by various municipalities, which RIVM additionally evaluated as part of this study.
In a related story in The Netherlands Times (4 July 2018), “[t]he rubber granules can leak substances that end up in the soil and dredges around the fields, the researchers found…. The RIVM looked at ten football clubs’ artificial turf fields that are scattered with rubber granules made from old car tires. The quality of the environment around the fields was compared with the environmental quality around real grass fields. ‘At various locations, the concentrations of zinc, cobalt and mineral oil exceeded the applicable standards for soil and sediment’, the researchers found. Zinc in particular poses a risk to the environment, though not to human health. The RIVM recommends that measures be taken to prevent rubber granules from ending up on the road surface and in water ditches. Granules end up on the road surface through human movement and leaf blowers for example, and can get into ditches through draining pipes.” “According to Recycling Netwerk, this study shows that rubber granules lead to serious environmental problems. ‘The standards are exceeded in no fewer than nine of the ten sports fields surveyed", the environmental organization said. This study sets all lights to red for rubber granules on sports fields. It is the official confirmation that the use of shredded car tire waste on sports fields causes unacceptable environmental risks.’”
Gummigranulater som brukes som fyllmateriale på idrettsbaner er en stor kilde til utslipp av mikroplast i naturen. Foto: Kjersti Dørumsgard Moxness, Miljødirektoratet
[No. 88] Norway’s EPA proposes rules about microplastic pollution from artificial turf. According to a news item on Chemical Watch (18 July 2018), “[t]he Norwegian EPA [Miljodirektoratet] has proposed measures to reduce the spread of microplastics from artificial turf in sports facilities into the environment. The country’s parliament called on the government in February  to tackle the problem with a regulation slated to come into force on 1 January next year. Norway has about 1,700 artificial turf tracks, many of which use rubber granulates as fillings. According to the EPA, each year at least 1,500 tonnes of the material spread from sports fields into natural areas. The proposals include: moving snow from the turf into designated areas so as not to unintentionally release microplastics into nearby fields; creating a physical barrier around the turf area; informing turf users of accidental spread of the granulate; and replacing microplastics with environmentally friendly alternatives. The EPA said that due to tight submission deadlines for the proposals the socio-economic costs could not be estimated. It has sent the proposals to the Ministry of the Environment, which is expected to open a consultation during the autumn.” Source: “Norway's EPA proposes artificial turf microplastics pollution rules,” on Chemical Watch, 18 July 2018), at https://chemicalwatch.com/68742/norways-epa-proposes-artificial-turf-microplastics-pollution-rules.For a copy of the Norwegian EPA Press release go here.
[No. 87] Benoit & Demars: Results demonstrate that recycled tire materials contain and can release a wide variety of substances known to be toxic, and caution would argue against their use where human exposure is likely. Gaboury Benoit and Sara Demars, Evaluation of Organic and Inorganic Compounds Extractable by Multiple Methods from Commercially Available Crumb Rubber Mulch, Journal of Water Air Soil Pollution [Water Air Soil Pollut] 229:64 (2018). First Online: 12 February 2018. Via https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11270-018-3711-7 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-018-3711-7 .
Prof. Benoit is Grinstein Professor of Environmental Chemistry and Co-Director of the HixonCenterfor Urban Ecology at YaleSchool of Forestry & Environmental Studies, with a Bachelor of Science degree from YaleUniversity and M.S. and Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Sara Demars is a former Research Assistant at Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
Abstract: Recycled tires are often shredded for use in a variety of consumer-related products. The rubber so used may contain a number of compounds known to be deleterious to human and environmental health. We obtained nine samples of shredded tire material sold over the counter to the general public for home use, as well as six samples used for infill in synthetic turf athletic fields. After thorough cleaning and grinding, samples were extracted with either organic solvent (dichloromethane), strong acid, or simulated acid rain, or allowed to degas passively. Compounds released by these multiple methods were then identified, and in some cases quantified. Solvent extraction yielded 92 separate compounds, of which only about half have been tested for human health effects. Of these, nine are known carcinogens and another 20 are recognized irritants, including respiratory irritants that may complicate asthma. Strong acid extraction released measurable amounts of Pb and Cd and relatively large amounts of Zn. These three metals were specifically targeted for analysis, and others may be present as well, but were unmeasured. Simulated acid rain extracted only Zn in significant quantities. Passive volatilization yielded detectable amounts of 11 compounds. Results demonstrate that recycled tire materials contain and can release a wide variety of substances known to be toxic, and caution would argue against their use where human exposure is likely.
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[No. 77] Study from the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) shows crumb rubber PAHs transferring readily to water and air. Maria Celeiro [PhD in Analytical Chemistry, University of Santiago de Compostela - USC Department of Analytical Chemistry, Nutrition and Bromatology], Thierry Dagnac [Xunta de Galicia · Agricultural and Agronomic Research Centre (CIAM) -Xunta de Galicia - Santiago de Compostela, Spain], and Maria Llompart [University of Santiago de Compostela - USC Department of Analytical Chemistry, Nutrition and Food Sciences] have authored a study titled, Determination of priority and other hazardous substances in football fields of synthetic turf by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry: A health and environmental concern -
Due to the high concern generated in the last years about the safety of recycled tire rubber used for recreational sports surfaces, this study aims at evaluating the presence of forty organic compounds including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), phthalates, adipates, vulcanisation additives and antioxidants in recycled tire crumb of synthetic turf football fields.
Ultrasound Assisted Extraction (UAE) was successfully employed to extract the target compounds from the crumb rubber, and analysis was performed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS).
The transfer of the target chemicals from the crumb rubber to the runoff water and to the air above the rubber surface has also been evaluated employing solid-phase microextraction (SPME).
Samples from fifteen football fields were analysed, and the results revealed the presence of 24 of the 40 target compounds, including 14 of the 16 EPA PAHs, with total concentrations up to 50 μg g−1. Heavy metals such as Cd, Cr and Pb were also found. A partial transfer of organic compounds to the air and runoff water was also demonstrated. The analysis of rain water collected directly from the football field, showed the presence of a high number of the target compounds at concentrations reaching above 100 μg L−1. The environmental risk arising from the burning of crumb rubber tires has been assessed, as well, analysing the crumb rubber, and the air and water in contact with this material, showing a substantial increase both of the number and concentration of the hazardous chemicals.
According to an article on Chemical Watch, 5 April 2018, based on the aforementioned study, “[p]olyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in rubber crumb, used in synthetic turf for sports pitches, quickly transfer into rain water and air, according to research by scientists in Spain. Transfer to other media increases the geographic range over which exposures might occur and potentially opens up new routes of exposure. The safety of rubber crumb is under consideration by regulators in the US and the EU, with major publications expected on the subject in the next few months. The Spanish research could bolster the case for stricter controls on use of the material, which is produced by grinding up old vehicle tyres. The scientists, led by Maria Llompart Vizoso at the University of Santiago de Compostela, constructed a list of 40 target substances based on previous work. The list comprised: 16 PAHs; 15 phthalates; three adipates; three vulcanisation additives; two antioxidants; and bisphenol A. They collected rubber samples from 15 synthetic turf football fields, built between 2009 and 2011, in the Santiago de Compostela region. They then used ultrasound assisted extraction (UAE) and gas-chromatography, mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to separate and measure the component substances. They also analysed the transfer of substances to rain water and air, using samples from two of the sites. The material samples contained 24 of the target substances, and 13 transferred to the rain water, with vulcanisation additive BTZ detected at a concentration of 120milligrammes per litre (mg/L). And several transferred to the air. The scientists also found heavy metals, including cadmium, chromium and lead, in the material samples.
Meanwhile in the EU, the Netherlands is preparing a proposal[ https://chemicalwatch.com/register?o=55434&productID=1&layout=main ] to restrict the use of 8 PAHs in rubber crumb for synthetic turf under REACH. A submission to Echa is expected by 20 July. Professor Llompart Vizoso says that that EU-level action on the material, such as the intended Dutch proposal, is urgently needed.
[No. 76] Oslo, Norway – Environment Minister wants rules designed to reduce the spread of “microplastic” from artificial turf. According to an article on Chemical Watch, a publication of CW Research Ltd. (United Kingdom) (20 February 2018), “Norway’s climate and environment minister has asked for proposals for rules to be drawn up to reduce the spread of microplastic from artificial turf used in sports facilities. Rubber granulate from artificial turf grains is an important source of microplastic emissions in Norway, Ola Elvestuen said in a statement on 19 February. New rules could 'significantly reduce emissions' he added. Mr Elvestuen has already met with the culture minister and the Norwegian Football Association to review the situation. The plan is to draw up the rules before the end of the year.” A copy of the statement is accessible here. Source: “Norway planning rules on emissions from artificial turf microplastics,” on Chemical Watch, 20 February 2018, at https://chemicalwatch.com/64144/norway-planning-rules-on-emissions-from-artificial-turf-microplastics .
SynTurf.org Note: Minister Elvestuen’s concern regarding the pollution emanating from artificial turf fields came in the context of the publication in January 2018 of report by the Norwegian Polar Institute that found alarming amount of “plastic in all sizes” throughout the Norwegian Arctic with harmful effect on wildlife and the environment. The Report (Norwegian Polar Institute, Brief Report 045) by Ingeborg G. Hallanger and Geir W. Gabrielsen is titled Plastic in the European Arctic (2018) .
According to a news report on EcoWatch (9 February 2018), Minister Elvestuen has stated that “[t]The results are disturbing. It is important that we get the fisheries, aquaculture industry and shipping industry on this. We also need to get control of microplastic that comes from artificial turf and car tires.” The EcoWatch piece also quoted Bo Eide, an environment consultant who often conducts litter pickups on the Arctic fjords, saying to BBC that Norway’s plastic flood comes from all over Europe and even from across the Atlantic. “You can throw a thing from the ocean in Florida and think, ‘Hey, I’ve thrown it away’ and then it might end up here on our shores. [The plastic] rather quickly break down into small pieces and even tiny little fibers. I think the coastline as a whole ... you can characterize it as a microplastic factory. It’s so obvious that what we are doing here is the tip of the tip of the iceberg." Source: Lorraine Chow, “‘Plastic in All Sizes' Found Everywhere in Once Pristine European Arctic,” on EcoWatch, 9 February 2018, at https://www.ecowatch.com/arctic-plastic-pollution-2532782515.html . For a copy of the the NPI report please go to herehttps://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11250/2478285/Kortrapport45.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=yor click here.
[No. 75] San Mateo, California - Civil Grand Jury calls for pause on fake turf crumb rubber at schools. The ‘Grand jury’ in this story is not like the ones you convened in episodes of Law & Order. The San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury is a judicial body composed of 19 citizens. It is impaneled to act as an “arm” of the Superior Court, as authorized by the State Constitution, to be a voice of the people and conscience of the community. It aims to o identify and investigate matters of import for the county. A judge reviews applications for the jury, and the process is meant to be objective. Refer to http://www.sanmateocourt.org/court_divisions/grand_jury/ for more information.
Any how – According to a news story in Daily Journal (11 July 2017), in a report issued on 10 July 2017 “[t]he grand jury is recommending … that school districts stop using artificial turf derived of recycled rubber tires until an ongoing study by the Environmental Protection Agency provides further data on the health effects of using tire-derived products on athletic fields or until they write decision-making guidelines that take the safety, cost and suitability of a materials used to create artificial turf into account. With some investigations revealing the presence of lead and other toxins in tire-derived turf, questions about whether the material could be related to cases of cancer and other negative health effects have swirled among education communities, according to the report. The jury’s recommendations are meant to stall use of the turf until conflicting reports and ongoing studies can better inform district officials’ decision-making.” Source: Anna Schuessler, “Grand jury calls for pause on fake turf at schools - Report details need for turf choice guidelines and further study,” in Daily Journal, 11 July 2017, at https://www.smdailyjournal.com/news/local/grand-jury-calls-for-pause-on-fake-turf-at-schools/article_3b80602c-65f5-11e7-a820-27f0cf88c610.html . For the Civil Grand Jury report titled “Should Tire-Derived Products Be Used On Athletic Fields In San Mateo County Schools?,” please go to http://www.sanmateocourt.org/documents/grand_jury/2016/tire.pdf or click here.
[No. 74] Dundee, Scotland – European Chemical (Ch) Agency (ECHA) is considering a ban on use of crumb rubber in artificial soccer fields amid cancer fears. 1 August 2017. Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, the ECHA is an agency of the European Union which manages the technical, scientific and administrative aspects of the implementation of the EU regulation called Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). Among its various charges is addressing chemicals of concern.
According to a news report in the Sunday Post (31 July 2017), “[t]he European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is considering outlawing rubber crumb, which has a high level of carcinogens.” “The move has been proposed by Dutch boffins [people engaged in scientific or technical research] after a number of studies questioned the safety of rubber crumb, which is shredded old car tyres. The Sunday Post was the first publication outside the US to highlight concerns over the black granules. There have been concerns the rubber crumb has led to cancer clusters among young footballers – especially goalkeepers as they dive more often on to the surface and stoop or kneel to collect the ball. The fears come from the fact the substance contains a number of toxic chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, mercury, lead and arsenic in higher concentrations than other substances.” “There are a number of alternatives to rubber crumb but they are, usually, more expensive.” Source: Gordon Blackstock, “Artificial pitches: Europe to consider ban after cancer fear,” in Sunday Post, 31 July 2017, at https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/artificial-pitches-europe-to-consider-ban-after-cancer-fear/ .
Juneau's Twin Lakes Park declared "fully engaged" on Monday evening. Photo from Capital City Fire and Rescue
[No. 73] Juneau, Alaska – Playground with rubber mulch goes up in thick black smoke. This item would normally be posted on the “vandalism” page of this website. However, because the crumb rubber mulch seems to be the primary contributor to the longevity of the conflagration shown on the left, we are posting this item on the “crumb rubber” page. According to a news report on KTUU (Channel 2 TV - NBC affiliate in Anchorage, Alaska) (25 April 2017), “[t]wo 13-year-old boys face charges in connection to a fire that burned down a playground located at Juneau's Twin Lakes Park on Monday [24 April]…. Erann Kalwara with Juneau Police said that the first 911 call came in at 5:42 p.m. and officers were on the scene just a minute later at 5:43. Kalwara said seven police officers responded. Upwards of 25 staff and volunteers with Capital City Fire and Rescue assisted in fighting the blaze. Dan Jager, a fire marshal with CCFR, said that the fire was determined to be "under control" after roughly 45 minutes, however it wasn't declared "extinguished" until around 11 p.m. owing to the fact that the playground utilized a rubber fill to pad the ground. ‘It kept smoldering for a long time,’ Jager said. ‘It was a similar issue that was seen in Anchorage several years ago. The rubber mulch becomes like a rubber tire fire.’” Source: Leroy Polk, “Two 13-year-olds charged with arson in connection to Juneau playground fire,” on KTUU ( Channel 2 TV - NBC affiliate in Anchorage, Alaska), 25 April 2017, at http://www.ktuu.com/content/news/Two-13-year-olds-charged-with-arson-in-connection-to-Juneau-playground-fire-420397273.html
[No. 72] Central City, Kentucky – Rubber tire mulch warehouse goes up in smoke; second rubber fire in as many years.According to a news report on Channel 14 TV(NBC affiliatein Evansville, Indiana – WFIE) (25 April 2017), “[f]ire crews worked hours to contain a fire at a rubber mulch company right outside of Central City. This isn't the first time they've had a fire at Re-Tek. Last year, a fire destroyed one of the company's warehouses. Investigators ruled that blaze undetermined. Now, crews are seeing the same story play out at the company's other warehouse across the street. The fire broke out around 3:00 AM [Tuesday, 25 April]. Employees noticed the fire and called 9-1-1. When fire crews rounded the corner on Cleaton Rd, they knew they had a big job on their hands. ‘We try to compose ourselves and come up with a game plan of what's the best thing to,’ Captain for the Central City Fire Department, Brandon Divine, said. The Re-Tek warehouse was engulfed in flames. Crews spent all morning trying to control the fire, but the rubber mulch didn't help. ‘It's very hard to put out. It contains a lot of heat. A lot of times, it will spontaneously combust when it creates it own heat,’ Captain Divine said. 10 hours later, the mulch was still burning. Big fires don't happen often in this area, but when they do, Fire Chief Ricky King says the fire teams are prepared…. Crews say they'll be working well into the night.” Source: Shaelie Clark, “Fire destroys Re-Tek warehouse in Central City,” on Channel 14 TV (NBC affiliate in Evansville, Indiana - WFIE ), 25 April 2017, at http://www.14news.com/story/35247085/fire-destroys-re-tek-warehouse-in-central-city
In response to the News Tribune's May 11 editorial on rubber mulch on elementary school playgrounds (Our View: "Take step back on rubber mulch"), I am writing my very first letter to the editor.
Just recently I picked up my daughter from school, and she was covered from head to toe in black dust. It was on her clothes and all exposed skin, including her face, arms, hands, and legs. She looked like a coal miner. Less importantly, I now have rubber chips in my car and throughout my house.
Nobody can offer me a guarantee that the rubber mulch used on Duluth public school playgrounds is 100 percent safe.
Rather than "waiting for the science," as the editorial urged, the School Board should consider removing the mulch as a preventative measure: $1.2 million is a drop in the bucket compared to what could happen if an entire generation of kids and their families sues the district should it be proven that prolonged exposure to the rubber caused cancer or another illness.
Kids already know they should wash their hands, as the editorial also reminded. Some do and some don't, but they're all breathing in the dust, and they can't wash all of it off at school.
Putting our kids' health at risk because it's too expensive to fix a mistake would be immoral and irresponsible.
SynTurf.org Note: In recent months there has been a heightened level of alarm and interest on the part of citizens and public officials about the adverse impact of crumb rubber infill and rubberized playing surfaces in the State of Minnesota. For recent postings about this topic re Minnesota on this site, seehttp://www.synturf.org/crumbrubber.html (Item Nos. 70, 68 and 62)
[No. 70] Minneapolis, Minnesota – City prohibits the use of City funds for the installation or replacement of any facilities or amenities using waste tires, including the use of waste tire crumb rubber and waste tire mulch. On 14 April 2017, by a vote of 12 yes, 0 no, and one absent, the City Council of the City of Minneapolis adopted Resolution 2017R-174, which “prohibits the use of City funds, (not including City funds transferred to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board under the 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan Agreement Ordinance), in the form of grants or direct appropriations to city- or community-led projects, for the installation or replacement of any facilities or amenities using waste tires, including the use of waste tire crumb rubber and waste tire mulch.” Furthermore, the Resolution directs “the Minneapolis Health Department to “consider and make recommendations about conducting an inventory of all fields and playgrounds in the City that use waste tires including those located at places of worship, private schools, day care centers, etc. in Minneapolis. This should include partnering with other organizations that may be undertaking this work. The inventory should include location, approximate square footage, and estimated usage.” Additionally, the Resolution directs the Minneapolis Health Department to “make recommendations regarding the precautions people should take who may use or play on these fields and playgrounds considering water contamination, exposure to toxins, and exposure to intense heat,” in connection with which the department is directed to consider “[r]equirements that facility operators and/or owners post health and safety information and/or provide health and safety education materials to field and playground users” and “[a] public awareness effort for users and property owners about the best safety precautions that can be taken as to limit or prevent exposure to and ingestion of toxins as well as health concerns related to the heat effects.”
In a separate action, by the same margin of votes, the Council adopted Action 2017A-0306, which “directs Finance Department staff to work with Minneapolis Public Schools and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to identify the cost of the removal of waste tire mulch from existing facilities; directing Finance staff to identify possible sources of City funding that could be used to help and to bring forward a proposal to Council, consistent with City processes, for consideration no later than July 1, 2017. The proposal should specify whether partner organizations have taken formal action to prohibit further purchase and use of waste tire products.”
The most significant aspect of the Resolution is the legislative recognition and acknowledgement of the scientifically established concerns with the use of crumb rubber infill on playing fields and of tire rubber mulch in playgrounds. Predicated on the belief that “[t]he public has a right to a healthful environment and to be free of the health and environmental hazards posed by the chemical exposures and other dangers from recycled waste tire mulch and crumb, the Resolution listed the following findings in the form of Resolution’s “whereas clauses”:
The use of waste tire mulch on playgrounds and as infill on playing fields can result in regular, long-term exposure to potentially hazardous substances through inhalation, ingestion, and absorption through the skin.
Synthetic turf and waste tire crumb rubber has been documented to become significantly hotter than natural grass and even asphalt because it absorbs solar radiation and can reach temperatures as high as 170 degrees Fahrenheit, which puts children at greater risk for dehydration, heat stress, heat stroke, and burns.
Waste tires contain hazardous substances, including heavy metals such as zinc, cadmium, and lead that leach from the material as they degrade, contaminating the soil, plants, and aquatic systems and harming aquatic life such as algae and fish.
As tire mulch and crumb heats up, it releases potential toxic gases and chemicals such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
Parents have reported children putting pieces of tire much in their mouths, and tire dust on children’s clothes, skin, and inside their nostrils after playing on these surfaces, and
On June 10, 2015, a study by the Environment and Human Health, an organization of physicians and public health professionals, found 96 chemicals in the rubber tire infill used in synthetic turf and rubber tire mulch used as surfacing in playgrounds.
Of the 96 chemicals detected, a little under a half have had no toxicity assessments done on them for their health effects and the other half have had some toxicity testing done on them, but even many of those chemicals had incomplete toxicity testing and therefore all health effects are not fully known.
Of the half of those chemicals that have had toxicity assessments, 20% are known to be probable carcinogens; 40% were found to be irritants; 24% are respiratory irritants, some of which are known to cause asthma symptoms; 37% are skin irritants; and 27% are eye irritants.
The October 2015 Scrap Tire Mulch on Duluth Public Schools’ Playgrounds report indicated that 12 of the 13 chemicals found in a tested sample of waste tire playground mulch are listed by the Minnesota Department of Health as “chemicals of high concern,” and included barium, chromium, lead, zinc, anthracene, benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(b)flouranthene, chrysene, flouanthene, phenanthrene, pyrene and methyl isobutyl ketone.
In May 2016, in a memo on the hazards to children’s health of using recycled tires in athletic fields, the Dean of Global Health of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and author of the textbook Children’s Environmental Health, Philip J. Landrigan concluded that, “the use of recycled waste tires for playground mulch and crumb rubber athletic field infill potentially puts the health of children and athletics at risk.”
The Resolution’s preamble also made reference to some recent developments in various venues with regard to moving away from waste tire infill and mulch. They include the following:
In May of 2016, the Edina Energy and Environment Commission voted to condemn the use of crumb rubber in Edina.
In June 2016, the Duluth School Board voted unanimously to replace the waste tire mulch used on most district elementary school playgrounds by the start of the 2017-2018 school year.
Two bills, House File 3496 (HF3496) and Senate File 3108 (SF3108), have been introduced in the Minnesota State Legislature to establish a moratorium on the use of waste tire mulch and crumb rubber on any new construction of public parks and school playgrounds until 2019, and requiring signage on public parks and school playgrounds already utilizing the material to educate users on ways to reduce exposure.
In both 2008 and 2016 the Public Health Advisory Committee and the Community Environmental Advisory Committee, at the request of the City Council, studied the use of waste tires.
On April 12, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board approved a resolution (ID # 3505) Committing Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to Several Actions Related to Waste Tire Products, Including Consideration of Alternative Materials in New and Rehabilitated Synthetic Turf Fields; Reporting to the Health, Environment, and Community Engagement Committee of the City of Minneapolis During Athletic Field Project Scoping; Researching Alternatives to Poured-In-Place Playground Surfacing; and Installation of Signs at Synthetic Turf Athletic Fields.
[No. 69] Fort Jones, California – ScottValleyUnifiedSchool District has voted to remove the shredded tire mulch from both elementary schools. The ScottValleyScottValleyUnifiedSchool District serves one of the northernmost areas of California. EtnaHigh School, Scott Valley Junior High, EtnaElementary School, FortJonesElementary School and ScottRiverHigh School comprise the District, which serves also the students in Forks of Salmon School District. The communities served by the School District are FortJones, QuartzValley, Greenview, Etna, and Callahan. According District Secretary Julie Hogun, on 19 April 2017, the five-member School Board voted to have the shredded tire mulch removed from Etna and FortJones elementary school playgrounds. The vote was 4 Yeses and one abstention. The minutes of the Board action will be posted on the District’s website (www.svusd.us) (http://www.svusd.us/Agendas.asp) after they are approved at the Board’s May 17th meeting.
[No. 68] Duluth, Minnesota- Results from two eighth graders’ scientific research validates School Board’s decision to rid the playgrounds of tire mulch. SeagateTechnology Rising Star Award recognizes emerging scientists in defined categories. According to a news article in Duluth News Tribune (17 April 2017), this year, Erin Coleman and Teagan Flynn, two eighth graders from Ordean East Middle School were awarded the prestigious award at the Minnesota state science fair for their research into “potential toxicity of rubber mulch used on playgrounds, fields and in gardens.” According to the article, the award “recognizes students whose research shows a high level of understanding of the scientific process.” Coleman and Flynn were given $1,500 and will present their project to Seagate, the international company that judged them and gave the award. They also scored in the top 15 percent of all projects at the fair, including those of high school students.
According to the article, Coleman & Flynn “were studying the issue long before it became a conversation with the Duluth School Board, which ultimately decided this winter to rid the district’s playgrounds of the material after parental advocacy.” Last year, they “studied the effects of mulch residue on plant life. This year they used daphnia, an aquatic invertebrate. In both projects they found the residue to be destructive.” According to Coleman, the “[t]ire chips [purchased from a store and gathered from the Lester Park Elementary playground] are definitely harmful to daphnia.” The daphnia were “exposed to the residue rinsed from the mulch … [and the] data suggests that the residue, or leachate, from the new, store-bought mulch had the most damaging effect on the daphnia, but the residue from the older, weathered Lester Park mulch also killed to a lesser degree. There was a control group exposed to nothing that had the smallest mortality rate.” “I think tire chips should stop being used on playgrounds, and especially around little kids, who like to eat them,” Coleman said.
According to Annette Strom who runs the science club at Ordean East, the students “worked on their project after school through the club, during lunch and in a school advisory period. Their work is advanced… The students likely won because they did what scientists do: They came up with new questions following one experiment, which led them to a new one … And when they questioned their results, they repeated it….They went above and beyond… That’s what real scientists do.” According to the article, “[t]he students did 24-hour tests in December and in January. When the January result was different than that of December’s, they wanted to know why.
Liz Minor, with [University of Minnesota at Duluth]’s Large Lakes Observatory, helped them conclude that the amount of sunlight absorbed played a part in lessening the harmful effects. ‘I was very impressed,’ Minor said, of the work Coleman did in her lab. Coleman said that even if the residue becomes less harmful over time, the immediate damage it does means it’s still bad for the environment. ‘Daphnia are at the bottom of the food chain,’ she said. ‘So if the daphnia are dying off, there is less food for other fish and things that eat them, which affects the entire food chain.’”
According to the article, “Kevin Flynn, Teagan Flynn’s father and a biologist for the Environmental Protection Agency in Duluth, provided the daphnia. Speaking as Teagan’s father, he said, he was impressed with a project that is not only interesting scientifically, but also relevant. ‘This has become a community-pushed issue and that brings interesting dynamics,’ he said. ‘The level of concern means your level of science is scrutinized a bit more. It’s interesting that Teagan and Erin have kind of found themselves in the middle of this.’” Source: Jana Hollingsworth, Ordean East students follow scientific process to success with rubber mulch study,” in Duluth News Tribune, 17 April 2017, at http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/education/4252330-ordean-east-students-follow-scientific-process-success-rubber-mulch-study
[No. 67] Free University Amsterdam Study: Rubber granules in fact release chemicals that may cause harmful effects in humans; they do kill zebrafish embryos.Zambla TV is a Dutch television documentary program produced in association with VARA (an acronym that once stood for Vereeniging van Arbeiders Radio Amateurs = Association of Worker Radio Amateurs). VARA Broadcasting Association is a Dutch public broadcasting association that operates within the framework of the Netherlands Public Broadcasting system.
On 13 February 2017, ZamblaTV documentary, entitled “Dangerous play – The sequel,” reported that following its documentary past October  on potential health hazards associated with playing on artificial turf with rubber infill, the Dutch health minister Schippers lost little time commissioning the RIVM (Netherlands’ National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) to investigate the matter. In mid-December , RIVM stated that artificial grass was perfectly safe: The harmful chemicals inside the rubber granules, which are made from old car tires, were released at such low levels that the risk is negligible, the RIVM ruled. So the ‘all clear’ signal was issued. According to Zambla TV parental concerns over crumb rubber persisted and so Zambla “decide[d] to look into the matter, to see if the book on the hazards of using rubber granules for artificial grass pitches should indeed be closed.”Goto http://zembla.vara.nl/dossier/uitzending/dangerous-play-the-sequel or here.
On 15 February 2017, Zambla published/boardcast the results of a study undertaken by scientists at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (Free/Independent University of Amsterdam) which according to Zambla concluded that“rubber granules in fact release chemicals which may cause harmful effects in humans. Exclusively for ZEMBLA, VU scientists present the results of studies on juvenile zebrafish and zebrafish embryos exposed to water previously loaded with rubber granules: the embryos died, while the fishes showed evidence of behavioural changes. Jacob de Boer, research leader and professor of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology, argues that their test outcomes are at odds with the RIVM findings. At the end of last year, the RIVM had reached the conclusion that it was safe to sport on rubber infill surfaces. De Boer: “According to the RIVM, the chemicals are embedded in the granules. This is not what we found. Chemicals are in fact released, and that is an essential finding. So if they say: we can close the book on this matter because the PAHs will never be released, they are cutting corners….. Following the outcomes of the VU research, professor De Boer advised against doing sports on artificial grass sports fields with rubber infill: “I wouldn’t do it myself. I would be very careful, simply because of what we found here.” When asked, De Boer replied he would not allow his children to play on rubber infill.”
According to the report, forty zebrafish embryos were exposed to water for 24 hours. To the surprise of the investigators, all 40 embryos died within five days. According to Professor De Boer if the fish eggs “fail to develop at all, you cannot help but feel something is very wrong here.”
According to Zambla TV, “[t]he research conducted by the VU’s Health & Environment Department also brought to light that juvenile fish (five days old larvae) exposed to water previously loaded with rubber granules showed hyperactive behaviour. The juvenile fish in the control group, which were swimming in normal water, did not show evidence of such behaviour.” According to VU toxicologist Jessica Legradi, who was a member of the research team: “You can imagine that it is a real concern if a particular chemical affects the brain, because in humans this may well cause epilepsy, ADHD or autism. Zebrafish are also used to study disorders such as autism and ADHD. And they are used in cancer research as well, because cancer in zebrafish develops in a similar way as in humans.”
[No. 66] Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Amsterdam says no to crumb rubber, no matter what an ongoing study will conclude. According to a news report in the NLTimes. nl (1 December 2016), “Amsterdam will not accept rubber granules in new artificial turf fields, no matter what the results of the RIVM [Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu] [a research agency of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport] investigation into whether or not these granules are hazardous to health. The people have lost confidence in the granules, sports alderman Eric van der Burg said during an emergency debate on the matter on Wednesday, Het Parool reports. The Dutch capital planned 10 new fields using rubber based artificial turf. But according to the alderman, unrest [ http://nltimes.nl/2016/10/14/ajax-scraps-rubber-artificial-turf-long-term-health-concerns ] among the parents of children who will play on these fields are so high that the construction must be halted. He is looking into using coconut or cork based fields. Van den Burg will wait for the results of the RIVM investigation before deciding whether the existing rubber artificial turf fields need to be replaced. According to the newspaper, Amsterdam has 78 artificial turf football fields that contain rubber granules. The Netherlands has around 2 thousand. Health service RIVM is expected to have the results of its investigation into the health risks of rubber granules made from recycled tires by the end of the year. The investigation was launched after a broadcast of Zembla in which experts stated that the rubber granules contain carcinogenic substances [ http://nltimes.nl/2016/10/05/health-concerns-raised-footballing-artificial-turf ] which may affect athletes who play on the artificial turf fields. Tire industry association VACO did its own, separate analysis[ http://nltimes.nl/2016/10/21/tire-group-provide-free-carcinogen-tests-artificial-sports-turf] and found that 58 out of 60 artificial turf fields contain a higher concentration of carcinogenic substances [ http://nltimes.nl/2016/11/28/carcinogenics-almost-artificial-turfs-research ] than is allowed by consumer standards. But as artificial turf is not considered a consumer product, it is believed to be safe.” Source: Janene Pieters, “Amsterdam says no to rubber granules in artificial turf,” on NLTimes.nl, 1 December 2016, at http://nltimes.nl/2016/12/01/amsterdam-says-rubber-granules-artificial-turf
[No. 65] Research study finds at high temperatures of artificial athletic field surfaces the crumb rubber infill can become the source of a water soluble agent with mutagenic potential. According to the Abstract of Michael J. Dorsey, et al., “Mutagenic Potential of Artificial Athletic Field Crumb Rubber at Increased Temperatures,” in Ohio Journal of Science 115(2) 32-394 (August 2015):
Rubber tires contain several compounds that are known or suspected carcinogens. Many carcinogens are mutagens (Griffiths et al. 2000), and fluctuation assays based on the Ames test can be used as an initial screen for mutagenic potential. Granulated crumb rubber from recycled tires is commonly used in the creation of artificial athletic fields, and the surface temperature of these fields can reach levels far above the ambient temperature. In this study, crumb rubber samples taken directly from four separate artificial athletic field surfaces were used to make leachates using water at different temperatures. For each of these fields, leachates obtained in water at 70ºC showed significant mutagenic potential (p ≤ .001) in Salmonella typhimurium fluctuation assays. Leachates obtained in water at 40ºC showed no mutagenic potential for any of the fields tested. For one field, crumb rubber heated in water at temperatures as low as 50ºC resulted in significant mutagenic potential (p ≤ 0.001). Water used in an experiment designed to mimic the irrigation of an artificial athletic field also showed mutagenic potential (p ≤ 0.001) in a fluctuation assay. These results suggest that at the higher temperatures such as those on artificial athletic field surfaces, the crumb rubber infill on these artificial athletic fields can become the source of a water soluble agent with mutagenic potential in bacteria.
[No. 64] Dutch clubs are up in arms over crumb rubber! Both on this page and the page titled “players’ view” http://www.synturf.org/playersview.html we have featured stories about players who disdain the artificial turf filed that they are made to play on. In one instance http://www.synturf.org/playersview.html (Item No. 59) we reported on French soccer players’ union calling for an end to play on synthetic turf. We have maintained since October 2014 that that the issue of playing on synthetic turf for the professional class athletes is a matter workplace occupational safety and health and should be regulated by OSHA and likewise regulatory agencies in other countries. Seehttp://www.synturf.org/health.html (Item No. 94).
“Football clubs cancel practices on artificial turf over health risk fears” read the headline of a 7 October 2016 article on MyInforms.com (based on reporting by the Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad) when giving news of “[a] number of amateur football clubs are cancelling matches and practices on artificial turf fields after reports that they may contain carcinogenic substances” and the football “associations in Maarssen, Amersfoort and Zwijndrecht are refusing to play on artificial turf” and that the “[c]lubs in Eindhoven are considering closing the artificial turf fields.” The article went on to say that “[i]n Den Dolder a school stopped its students’ practice on the local club’s artificial field. And the city of Gorinchem suspended the construction of an artificial turf field.”
Why all the fuss? Because, according to the article, “[e]arlier [in the week] TV program Zembla [ http://zembla.vara.nl/ ] [had] reported that rubber granules used in 90 percent of the artificial turf fields in the Netherlands may be hazardous to the health of athletes. According to the program, the RIVM [Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu - National Institute for Health and Environment] did not properly investigate these granules and artificial turf has been linked to leukemia.” Source: “Football clubs cancel practices on artificial turf over health risk fears,” on MyIforms.com, 7 October 2016, at http://myinforms.com/en/a/42382708-football-clubs-cancel-practices-on-artificial-turf-over-health-risk-fears/ .
In the meantime, DutchNews.nl reported on 7 October 2016, reported that the “Dutch Health minister Edith Schippers has asked the public health institute RIVM to carry out research into the potential danger of taking part in sports on artificial turf. The minister was reacting to claims made by a television current affairs programme which said artificial grass could pose a health risk. Most hockey pitches in the Netherlands are artificial turf as are an increasing number of football pitches. Schippers told reporters that as a mother, she was shocked by the claims and wants to know what dangers children face before the end of the year. Professor Martin van den Berg, a toxicology specialist at Utrecht university, told the television programme Zembla that the grass should not be used until potential risks are clear. 'As a toxicologist, I say: I wouldn’t play on these fields because we cannot make a proper assessment of the risks,' he said. The KNVB Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond - Royal Dutch Football Association] football association has also said more needs to be done to investigate whether carcinogens in rubber granules made from old car tyres - used as infill in artificial turf - can end up in athletes’ bodies.” Source: Dutch News, “Dutch Minister calls for research into artificial turf health risks,” on DutchNews.nl, 7 October 2016, at http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2016/10/minister-calls-for-research-into-artificial-turf-health-risks/ .
No lesser among the clubs that reacted to the news that synthetic turf pitches left a lot to be desired was the iconic football club Amsterdamsche Football Club Ajax, simply known as “Ajax,” based in Amsterdam. According to an article in The Netherlands News (14 October 2016), “Ajax decided to replace the artificial turf on four training fields in training complex De Toekomst. These turfs contain the much discussed rubber granules. And the Amsterdam team decided to rather remove the turfs as a precaution after a number of scientists expressed concerns about possible health risks to players, AD Algemeen Dagblad] reports. Minister Edith Schippers of Public Health and Sports asked health institute RIVM to re-examine whether rubber granules – made from old tires and said to contain carcinogenic substances – really do pose a health risk to athletes. The RIVM expects to have results by the end of the year. But Ajax decided not to wait for the results. The Amsterdam team is taking immediate action because their artificial turfs are used a lot more than those of amateur clubs. ‘W feel responsible for the players,’ a spokesperson said, according to the newspaper. Janene Pieters, “Ajax scraps rubber artificial turf over long-term health concerns,” in The Netherlands Times, 14 October 2016, at http://www.nltimes.nl/2016/10/14/ajax-scraps-rubber-artificial-turf-long-term-health-concerns/ . See also “Ajax to get rid of crumb rubber training pitches after health scare,” on DutchNews.nl, 14 October 2016, at http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2016/10/ajax-to-get-rid-of-crumb-rubber-training-pitches-after-health-scare/ .
[No. 63] The Feds announce their research protocol for crumb rubber. On August 5, 2016 the Feds released the protocol for their research program into crumb rubber. The protocol is titled “Collections Related to Synthetic Turf Fields with Crumb Rubber Infill” and is issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. For a copy of the protocol go here. For an earlier post on the research program scroll down on this page to Item No. 57.
Rubber mulch made from recycled tires covers the playground at Duluth s Lester Park Elementary School. The Duluth School Board will be asked to approve $18,500 in spending next week to replace the mulch. (file photo / News Tribune)
[No. 62] Duluth, Minnesota – School district ditches rubber mulch. According to a news report in Duluth News Tribune(8 August 2016), “[the Duluth School Board] will be asked to approve $18,500 in spending for a firm that will research design and construction options for the 10 playgrounds - eight elementary schools and both middle schools - that need mulch replacement. The board in June voted to replace rubber mulch with an alternative, following pleas from some parents who have researched the issue for months. It's an issue that has become controversial across the country, and federal agencies are conducting a comprehensive study on the toxicity of crumb rubber - found in the district's turf fields' infill, and the mulch used on the 10 playgrounds. But parents implored the board to make the change before the studies are complete, saying the precaution was necessary to protect kids in the face of too many things unknown about the material and its effects on young children. It could cost between $300,000 and $400,000 to replace the rubber mulch. The firm is expected to coordinate public meetings to help decide a replacement plan. The next step will be putting the project out to bid. All playgrounds are expected to have a new surface by the start of school in 2017. There is no plan to replace the district's four turf fields, which could cost up to $2 million.” Source: Jana Hollingsworth, “Duluth school district moving forward on plans to replace rubber,” in Duluth News Tribune, 8 August 2016, at http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/4090384-duluth-school-district-moving-forward-plans-replace-rubber-mulch
[No. 61] Sea Cliff, long Island, New York – NorthShoreSchool District on Long Island says no to rubber mulch in playgrounds. According to news re[ort on WABC (Channel 7 - (ABC affiliate in New York City), “It's a common sight on playgrounds across the Tri-State area: rubber pellets and mulch, meant to keep children safe. But could the material actually be harmful? One Long Island school district is taking action. ‘It's nice to walk on but we don't know what our kids are smelling or breathing,’ said Sea Cliff resident Mark Doherty. You know the smell of burning rubber? That's what the playground smells like. And it's not just that. ‘It gets on your skin and it turns your skin black and then you have to take a shower after,’ said Sea Cliff resident Jack Doherty. It's coming from rubber mulch, soft material made from shredded rubber products, mostly tires. The material is known to be toxic. ‘A number of cancer causing chemicals, a number of endocrine disrupting chemicals these are all in there,’ said Dr. Ken Spaeth of Northwell Health. Which is why the NorthShoreSchool district on Long Island is removing all of its rubber mulch playgrounds by the fall. Replacing them with wood chips. ‘It gives parents peace of mind, it gives us peace of mind and everyone is safe and everyone is happy,’ said Ed Melnick of NorthShore schools. Source: Kristin Thorne, “Rubber mulch on LI children's playgrounds raising health concerns,” on WABC (Channel 7 - New York City), 12 July 2016, athttp://abc7ny.com/health/rubber-much-on-childrens-playgrounds-raising-health-concerns/1423800/
[No. 60] European Commission is to look into health risks of playing on crumb rubber infill. According to an article in The Irish Times (10 June 2016), “[t]he European Commission has formally made a request to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to assess whether the presence of cancer causing substances in recycled rubber granules used as infill in synthetic turf pitches poses a risk to human health. Football’s world governing body, Fifa, have also agreed to collaborate with the investigation. The ECHA is expected to finalise its preliminary evaluation by January 2017 and their conclusion and findings should be made public in February 2017. If the findings show there are health issues, it will also have significant financial implications for sporting clubs and recreation grounds which use the rubber. In Ireland infill is extensively used by GAA [Gaelic Athletic Association - for the Preservation and Cultivation of national Pastimes] soccer and rugby clubs…. The commission is following the line of the US Environmental Protection Agency, which earlier this year agreed to conduct a multi-agency investigation following public pressure and assertions from the scientific community that the rubber is hazardous…. Studies commissioned by the industry have shown the compound to be harmless, while independent studies in both the US and Europe claim the substances have potentially harmful effects. The ECHA explained in a statement that their preliminary investigation will seek to identify any hazardous substances including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), some of which are carcinogenic and already extensively restricted by EU legislation. The study will also assess the risk resulting from skin, oral and inhalation exposure to the substances, which are used in both open air and indoor sports grounds…. In the light of the discussion during the meeting on 8 March 2016 and the input received from Member States, there is a need to evaluate the risks potentially posed to human health by the presence of certain substances obtained from end-of-life tyres, which form part of the synthetic turf used in sports grounds. To assist with this evaluation, the Commission will forward to the Agency all relevant studies already in its possession that were conducted by Member States. Furthermore, ECHA should take into account relevant international and regional activities in this area, such as recent research actions on recycled tyre crumb used on playing fields, launched by the US-EPA.
The commission guidelines say risks to be evaluated should cover those of the general population as well professional athletes and those working in the industry. Based on the ECHA conclusions, the commission will consider the risk to health and, if there are concerns of significance, will set regulations to restrict the use of the rubber.” Source: Johnny Watterson, “European Commission to assess health risks of artificial pitches - Fifa to collaborate with chemical agency’s investigation of rubber infill in synthetic turf, in The Irish Times, 10 June 2016, at http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/rugby/european-commision-to-assess-health-risks-of-artifical-pitches-1.2678659 .
SynTurf.org Note: Get ready for another astroturfing of this issue by overreliance on pro-industry studies! What kind of a longitudinal study about the exposure to harmful substances can a commission/agency come up with in less than 6 months from now?!
[No. 59] Baylor/Rice Study: Carbon black is not good for the lungs. Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine, City of Hope National Medical Center, Rice University, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs have concluded that “Nanoparticulate carbon black in cigarette smoke induces DNA cleavage and Th17-mediated emphysema.” In a study by Ran You etal. state that “[c]hronic inhalation of cigarette smoke is the major cause of sterile inflammation and pulmonary emphysema. The effect of carbon black (CB), a universal constituent of smoke derived from the incomplete combustion of organic material, in smokers and non-smokers is less known. In this study, we show that insoluble nanoparticulate carbon black (nCB) accumulates in human myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs) from emphysematous lung and in CD11c+ lung antigen presenting cells (APC) of mice exposed to smoke. Likewise, nCB intranasal administration induced emphysema in mouse lungs. Delivered by smoking or intranasally, nCB persisted indefinitely in mouse lung, activated lung APCs, and promoted T helper 17 cell differentiation through double-stranded DNA break (DSB) and ASC-mediated inflammasome assembly in phagocytes. Increasing the polarity or size of CB mitigated many adverse effects. Thus, nCB causes sterile inflammation, DSB, and emphysema and explains adverse health outcomes seen in smokers while implicating the dangers of nCB exposure in non-smokers.” [DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.09623 - Published October 5, 2015 - Cite as eLife 2015;4:e09623] – seehttps://elifesciences.org/content/4/e09623 [ and here ].
SynTurf.org Note: Carbon black is a major constituent of tires. Crumb rubber infill made of used tires contains carbon clack. Dust from crumb rubber infill contains carbon black. Players run the risk of ingesting and inhaling the nanoparticulates of carbon black. Carbon black is a known carcinogen and also (now by this study) causes respiratory problems. Ergo: Draw you own conclusion as to whether a breathing human ought to play on a field with crumb rubber infill.
[No. 58] No matter the language, crumb rubber artificial turf fields sounds nasty in any tongue. Here are video links for the video presentation A Closeup Look at Tire Crumb Synthetic Turf (by SF Parks, published March 20160 in English https://youtu.be/XGCnhFLdgS0 and the following languages:
This covers most of humanity; more translation in other languages welcome.
[No. 57] U.S. Federal Research on Recycled Tire Crumbs Used on Playing Fields. In February 2016 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a bulletin in its “Science in Action – Innovative Research for a Sustainable Future” dedicated to the issue of Federal Research on Recycled Tire Crumbs Used on Playing Fields. The bulletin stated “Concerns have been raised by the public about the safety of recycled tire crumb used in playing fields and playgrounds in the United States. Limited studies have not shown an elevated health risk from playing on fields with tire crumb, but the existing studies do not comprehensively evaluate the concerns about health risks from exposure to tire crumb.” “On February 12, 2016 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) launched a multi-agency action plan to study key environmental human health questions. This coordinated Federal Research Action Plan on Recycled Tire Crumb Used on Playing Fields and Playgrounds includes outreach to key stakeholders, such as athletes and parents, and seeks to:  Fill important data and knowledge gaps;  Characterize constituents of recycled tire crumb[; and]  Identify ways in which people may be exposed to tire crumb based on their activities on the fields.” The Bulletin also outlined the state of the existing research and information: “Other federal, state, and local government agencies have conducted limited studies on artificial turf fields. For example, from 2009-2011, New York City and the states of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey conducted studies on tire crumb infill and synthetic turf. Also, in 2008 and 2009 the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry evaluated synthetic turf “grass blades” in response to concerns about lead exposure. Their evaluations estimated that any potential releases of toxic chemicals from the grass blades, such as lead, would be below levels of concern. In 2008, EPA conducted a limited Scoping-Level Field Monitoring Study of Synthetic Turf Fields and Playgrounds. The purpose of the limited study was to test a method for measuring possible emissions from using synthetic turf on playgrounds and ball fields, not to determine the potential health risks of recycled tire crumb in playgrounds or in synthetic turf athletic fields.” The bulletin concluded: “Limited studies have not shown an elevated health risk from playing on fields with tire crumb, but the existing studies do not comprehensively evaluate the concerns about health risks from exposure to tire crumb EPA has developed a Tire Crumb and Synthetic Turf Field Literature and Report List (Nov. 2015). It is an extensive, although not exhaustive, survey of the literature from the past 12 years.” The EPA website for tire [rubber] crumb is http://www.epa.gov.TireCrumb . For the text of the bulletin go to http://www.epa.gov/chemical-research/federal-research-recycled-tire-crumbs-used-playing-fields or here and also see this. For a well done news story by NBC Nightly News on the joint federal “effort” see Feds to Investigate Safety of Crumb Rubber Turf Fields https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_uQezVNLIt8 (12 February 2016).
[No. 56] Details of Yale University’s Metal Analysis of Crumb Rubber Infill and Playground Mulch (2015). According to a bulletin distributed by www.ehhi.org , the Yale University’s Metal Analysis of crumb rubber infill and playground rubber mulch “shows that metals are present in, and presumably released from, the crumb rubber and rubber mulch. The metals that are released from the various samples are very different, reflecting the lack of standardization in the shredded waste tires. This fact is due to all the different tires that are collected from all over the country and then put into shredding machines. There is no standardization - and in fact the tires come from all different kinds of vehicles: trucks, both large and small, cars and as many different kinds of tires as you can imagine. The wide variability of shredded waste tire mulch and crumb rubber infill throws all of those "safety" studies in doubt because no two samples are necessarily the same. It further casts doubt on studies of older fields where the crumb rubber has broken down to dust over time and use. The cadmium levels in this analysis go from (mg/kg) 0.16 to 1.39; the lead levels go from (mg/kg) 2.6 to 33.1 and the zinc levels go from (g/kg) 8.8 to 22.2. These are large variables due to the different samples of what is supposedly the same products - showing no standardization at all.”
“Methods used in the metal analysis of the crumb rubber tire synthetic turf infill and the rubber tire playground mulch at Yale University. The shredded rubber tire playground mulch samples tested were provided by the manufacturer and were purchased in new bags of rubber mulch for use in gardens and playgrounds. The rubber tire infill for synthetic turf fields was obtained as new infill material from installers of synthetic turf fields. There were 5 samples of infill from 5 different installers of fields and 9 different samples of rubber mulch taken from 9 different new bags of playground mulch. The methods of testing were as follows.”
“Aqua regia method: Crumb rubber samples were rinsed three times with deionized water. Fine grained samples were drained with filter paper, while coarser samples were decanted. They were then dried overnight at 60 degrees C. After drying, crumb rubber samples were cut into pea-sized pieces and pulverized in a Spex CertiPrep 6750 freezer mill for 6 minutes at a rate of 10 cycles per second and after 6 minutes of cooling time. The resulting rubber powder was sieved through a 0.84 mm sieve to remove large fragments. After sieving, the rubber powder was dried again overnight at 60 degrees C to remove condensation. 0.2 - 0.15 gram quantities of the rubber powder were weighed into Teflon vessels and 10 ml of aqua regia was added. The vessels were sealed and loaded into a CEM Mars 5 microwave assisted digester and heated at 1200 watts power maintained at 800 psi and 160 degrees C for 10 minutes followed by 1200 watts power maintained at 800 psi and 170 degrees C for 10 minutes. The vessels were left to cool to ambient temperature (22 degrees C), after which 2 ml aliquots of aqua regia extract were filtered through 0.45 _m syringe filters. The 2 ml filtrates were diluted to 40 ml with deionized water to yield 5% aqua regia solutions, which were analyzed by ICP-MS (Perkin Elmer Elan DRC-e) for cadmium and lead, and which were analyzed by ICP-AES (Perkin Elmer Optima 3000) for zinc. All labware was acid washed in an acid bath containing 10% HCl and 10% HNO3 at room temperature. Sieves and freezer mill components were acid washed in 5% acetic acid.”
For the results of the Yale Metal Analysis go here.
[No. 55] European Union is looking into legislation to restrict the use of crumb rubber in artificial turf fields. According to a news report in The Irish Times (22 February 2016), “[r]ubber infill, used widely in the construction of synthetic turf pitches throughout Ireland, is being considered by the EU as a product that should fall under restrictive legislation. Claims that the rubber contains toxic material and may cause cancer have made the safety of the pitches one of the most volatile issues in sport. ….. Based on a proposal by Germany in 2010, the European Commission has put a restriction on the manufacturing, use and placing on the market of PAHs [polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons]. Companies began to comply with the restriction on December 27th, 2015…. The most recent discussion about the recycled rubber took place last November at an EU member-state competent authorities meeting. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which is the driving force behind regulatory chemical authorities in Europe, has begun to prepare a guideline to define which products or parts of products will fall under the scope of European restrictions.” Source: Johnny Watterson, “EU considering health issues of rubber in artificial pitches: Claims that rubber infill in synthetic pitches has toxic material that causes cancer,” in The Irish Times, 22 February 2016 at http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/other-sports/eu-considering-health-issues-of-rubber-in-artificial-pitches-1.2543174
[No. 54] Hartford, Connecticut: New Zoning Code bans crumb rubber and other synthetic infills from artificial turf landscapes. On 12 January 2016 the Hartford’s Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved changes to the city’s Zoning Code, which streamlining the regulations and updating them to reflect the city’ss current vision and today’s best practices. The changes feature a new section on landscaping. For a copy of the new code, effective as of 19 January 2016, seehttp://www.hartford.gov/images/Planning/FINAL_Hartford_Zoning_2016.1.19.pdf or go here. On page 195 (here), the code lays out the rules for Ground Plane Vegetation, providing that all unpaved areas can be covered by planting beds, grass, or “artificial turf.” The regulation 6.3.3 states that the use of artificial turf containing “synthetic infill materials" shall be prohibited and the use of artificial turf containing “organic infill materials” or containing no infill material shall be permitted, provided that such use is in compliance with all applicable environmental laws and regulations; and any infill is composed completely of organic materials; and the use of artificial turf does not exceed the impervious coverage requirements. The regulation defines “artificial turf” as any man-made surface manufactured from synthetic materials which simulate the appearance of live turf, grass, sod, or lawn. “Synthetic infill material,” according to the regulation, is any man-made infill from recycled or virgin materials including but not limited to ambient and cryogenic crumb rubber, coated crumb rubber, ethylene propylene diene monomer granules, thermoplastic elastomer granules, and recycled footwear. “Organic infill material” is defined as any material utilizing organic components such as cork, coconut husks, rice husks, silica sand, or acrylic coated sand.
[No. 53] Washington, DC: US Senators Blumenthal and Nelson ask POTUS to initiate a comprehensive study into the potential health risks posed by crumb rubber playing surfaces. In his State of the Union Adress on January 12, 2016 President Obama stated: “Last year, Vice President Biden said that with a new moonshot, America can cure cancer. Last month, he worked with this Congress to give scientists at the National Institutes of Health the strongest resources they’ve had in over a decade. Tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done. And because he’s gone to the mat for all of us, on so many issues over the past forty years, I’m putting Joe in charge of Mission Control. For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the family we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all. Medical research is critical. See the President’s Address at https://medium.com/@WhiteHouse/president-obama-s-2016-state-of-the-union-address-7c06300f9726#.84whrbci3 .
Yes, indeed, curing cancer is very important, preventing cancer is even more so. The recent Congressional efforts to get the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the US Environmental Protection Agency having gone nowhere, US Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and Bill Nelson (D-Florida) are now asking the White House to initiate a comprehensive federal-led study into the potential health risks posed by artificial turf fields and synthetic playground surfaces containing crumb rubber. President Obama may or may not oblige the Senators. It is worth mentioning however that in December 2014 a citizens’ petition tried to get the White House to remove the carcinogenic and toxic tire mulch from the White House playground and replace it with wood chips or wood mulch. See https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/remove-carcinogenic-and-toxic-tire-mulch-white-house-playground-replace-wood-chips-or-wood or here. The petition went nowhere. And earlier call a bout the toxic nature of rubber mulch in that playground too fell on deaf ears. See Nancy Alderman, “Toxic mulch means White House play area not fun and games,” in New Haven Register, 13 April 2009, at http://www.synturf.org/images/Nancy-http___www.nhregister.pdf .
(Hartford, CT) – With concerns mounting about artificial turf athletic fields and playgrounds made of crumb rubber, U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)--two top Democrats on the Senate Commerce Committee-- today asked President Barack Obama to initiate a comprehensive federal-led study into the potential health risks posed by the surfaces.
In a letter to the president, Blumenthal and Nelson said the possible correlation between crumb rubber and cancer suggested by recent reports warrants further scrutiny.
“Given that millions of children and young athletes play on crumb rubber synthetic surfaces every day, this correlation with cancer cannot be ignored,” the lawmakers wrote.
The senators cited research from University of Washington soccer coach Amy Griffin, who found 153 reported cancer cases involving athletes who spent significant periods of time playing on crumb rubber turf. Of those cases, 124 were soccer players.
“We believe that a more comprehensive federal study on this matter, one that draws not only from the public safety expertise of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), but from the public health and environmental expertise of agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Agency, would more fully inform the public on any potential public health or safety impacts associated with crumb rubber,” the senators’ letter continued.
Today’s call to action is not the first time the two senators have pressed the federal government to take a lead role in investigating crumb rubber turf. In November, the lawmakers asked the CPSC to conduct an independent federal investigation. The CPSC informed them that it planned to work closely with a California-led investigation into possible health risks associated with crumb rubber but stopped short of committing to an independent investigation. The EPA has also recently said it plans to assist California in its investigation.
The following is the text of the senatorial letter to the President:
Dear Mr. President:
We write to request that your administration spearhead a comprehensive study and assessment of the safety of artificial turf surfaces infilled with “crumb rubber.”
Crumb rubber consists of recycled scrap tires grounded into small particles, which are then incorporated into the synthetic turf as infill. These artificial surfaces have been installed in playgrounds and sports fields all across the country. Unfortunately, recent reports indicate that these surfaces may pose serious health risks, including cancer, to individuals who come into frequent contact with them. As such, we believe this issue warrants scrutiny from U.S. government agencies with expertise in public health and consumer safety.
The existing body of knowledge on the safety of crumb rubber is incomplete. Nonetheless, one disturbing report finds that there may be a correlation between crumb rubber and cancer. Specifically, according to University of Washington soccer coach Amy Griffin, and as reported by ESPN, there are now 153 reported cancer cases involving athletes who spent significant periods of time playing on synthetic turf with crumb rubber infill. Of these cases, 124 of the athletes are soccer players, 85 of whom played goalie. Given that millions of children and young athletes play on crumb rubber synthetic surfaces every day, this correlation with cancer cannot be ignored.
Last November, we wrote a letter to Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Elliot Kaye urging the Commission to initiate an independent investigation on the safety of crumb rubber turf. According to Chairman Kaye, the CPSC will be working with the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to determine the possible health risks that crumb rubber poses.
This is a laudable effort, and we appreciate the CPSC’s response. However, we believe that a more comprehensive federal study on this matter, one that draws not only from the public safety expertise of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, but from the public health and environmental expertise of agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Agency, would more fully inform the public on any potential public health or safety impacts associated with crumb rubber. Accordingly, we ask that your administration coordinate a comprehensive initiative that effectively utilizes all of the relevant agencies that can provide insight on the health and safety crumb rubber.
Thank you for your attention to this letter.
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Consumer Protection,
[No. 52] Linda Chalker-Scott on toxicity of rubber mulch made from used tires. Back in the day when SynTurf.org was getting started (2007) there were very few studies about the toxicity of ground up used tires. One was by Linda Chalker-Scott, Ph.D., Extension Horticulturist and Associate Professor at Puyallup Research and Extension Center, Washington State University. The tract was titled The Myth of Rubberized Landscapes. SynTurf.org reported on it at http://www.synturf.org/crumbrubber.html (Item No. 4). The link-reference in that piece no longer works; however the work does appear at a new link http://puyallup.wsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/403/2015/03/rubber-mulch.pdf and it is retained also here.
Dr. Chalker-Scott, a tireless researcher of rubber mulch toxicity, has updated and expanded her earlier work in a 2015 edition entitled Rubber Mulch Use in Home Landscapes (Washington State University Extension Fact Sheet – FS 163E). It is accessible at http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/FS163E/FS163E.pdf and here. The following excerpt from the Fact Sheet pretty much summarizes the reasons why crumb rubber infill – which is a tiny version of the chunkier rubber mulch - is as nasty and hazardous to the health of human, botanical and aquatic life forms.
Decomposition of rubber means that breakdown products, including heavy metals and other chemicals of concern, leach into the surrounding soil and water. Rubber leachates also contain various plasticizers and accelerators used during the vulcanizing process, a process in which rubber is chemically treated to give it useful properties such as strength or elasticity. Decades of research have confirmed that entire aquatic communities of algae, zooplankton, snails, and fish can be killed when exposed to rubber leachates.
The leaching problem increases as the particle size of recycled tires decreases. In other words, the smaller the particle size, the greater the potential for leaching. Toxins associated with crumb rubber (Figure 3), a more finely ground type of rubber used on athletic fields, are well documented (Li et al. 2010; Llompert et al. 2012; Menichini et al. 2011; Simcox et al. 2011). Benzothiazole, a toxic, airborne contaminant from crumb rubber, is the primary rubber-related chemical found in synthetic turf studies. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) such as naphthalene, phthalates, butylated hydroxytoluene, and othe chemicals of concern have been found in the air, water, and soil adjacent to crumb rubber and other recycled tire products. In one recent study, the levels of PAH reported were significantly higher than allowable for agricultural or industrial soils (Llompert et al. 2012).
Research provides additional evidence regarding the potential health risks associated with exposure to crumb rubber in turf fields and playgrounds (Bocca et al. 2009; Kim et al. 2012; Llompert et al. 2012; Menichini et al. 2011; Sadiktsis et al. 2012; Simcox et al. 2011). To date, however, there are no similar studies that focus on the health risks posed by rubber mulches used in home gardens and landscapes. It is difficult to apply the findings from athletic field and playground studies to the home landscapes. However, home gardeners should be aware of potential contaminants should they choose to use rubber mulches.
[No. 51] Empire State Consumer Project’s 2015 Children’s Products Safety Report re-raises concern over use of crumb rubber infill in athletic fields and rubber mulch in gardens and on playgrounds. On 1 December 2015, Empire State Consumer Project, Inc. (Judy Braiman, President) issued its 2015 Childrens' Product Safety Report. Once again the Project raises concern over the use of crumb rubber infill in athletic fields and rubber mulch in gardens and on playgrounds. The excerpts of the report on Artificial Turf and Artificial Mulch are reproduced here. The full report is accessible here.
The Project has known for years that artificial turf contains cancer causing chemicals, but the recent news of players coming down with cancers again has brought to light the need for more research. “In addition to containing carcinogens, turf fields pose a number of other health risks ESCP has been reporting on since the fields were first introduced in schools. Some studies show a higher incidence of knee injuries and sprains on turf vs. grass. Injuries including ‘turf burn’ and ‘turf toe,’” the Report stated. “With skin abrasions, additional research is needed to determine whether methicillinresistant Staphylococcus aureus infections, MRSA are more likely with artificial turf than with grass. Heat on and above artificial turf fields has been measured at up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, causing heat stroke and dehydration in school children as well as professional athletes,” according to the Report.
On Artificial Mulch (rubber mulch), the Report included a table that listed results obtained on laboratory testing of materials used in rubber mulch that is made of ground up used tires like those used for making artificial turf fields. “The mulch is advertised as a garden and playground mulch. Some products are marked ‘Playground safety tested.’ There are no government standards for testing the safety of rubber mulch for playground use or for garden use,” the Report stated. “Among other health effects caused by arsenic and cadmium (both found in samples tested), both are known to be human carcinogens (cancer classification NTP). Zinc, also found in samples, is known to cause respiratory and digestive health effects, and pancreatic and kidney damage … Inhalation, ingestion, and dermal exposure to toxic chemicals are all concerns where children play. Where foods are grown for human consumption, toxic chemicals potentially leaching into plants is also a concern that warrants study,” according to the Report.
[No. 49] Yale Study (2015): Harmful ingredients in crumb rubber and their effect on human health.SynTurf.org Note: Here (in 2015) is yet again another research study that has looked at the ingredients of crumb rubber usually derived from used tires and their effect on human health. The Yale Study did not consider “black carbon,” which constitutes about 25% of the rubber in tires and is a known and confirmed carcinogen. Read more about carbon black at http://www.synturf.org/crumbrubber.html (Item Nos. 40, and 55-47).
Previous studies revealing the harmful ingredients of crumb rubber posted on this site include EHHI-sponsored study conducted by Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station entitled Examination of Crumb Rubber Produced from Recycled Tires (August 2007);Rochestarians Against the Misuse of Pesticides (RAMP), Synthetic Turf Chemicals (October 2007), which was conducted by the Institute of Health and the Environment of the State University of New York at Albany as an emerging environmental issue (“Possible Health Effects of Synthetic Turf”), accessible at http://www.albany.edu/ihe/Synthetic_Turf_Chemicals.php and at http://www.synturf.org/images/RAMP-Synthetic_Turf_Chemicals.pdf ; Junfeng Zhang, In-Kyu Han, Lin Zhang and William Crain, “Hazardous chemicals in synthetic turf materials and their bioaccessibility in digestive fluids,” in Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology (August 30, 2008) online at http://www.nature.com/jes/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/jes200855a.html; and “EPA’s List of Carcinogens and Other Harmful Substances in Tires” posted on this website at http://www.synturf.org/epa.html (Item No. 18, May 2015).
Findings of the chemical analysis conducted by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies of crumb rubber tire infill used in synthetic turf and rubber tire mulch used as surfacing material in toddler playgrounds
Source: Environment and Human Health, Inc., North Haven, Connecticut
The shredded rubber tire playground mulch samples tested were provided by the manufacturer and were purchased in new bags of rubber mulch for use in gardens and playgrounds. The rubber tire infill for synthetic turf fields was obtained as new infill material from installers of synthetic turf fields. There were 5 samples of infill from 5 different installers of fields and 9 different samples of rubber mulch taken from 9 different unopened bags of playground mulch.
There were 96 chemicals found in 14 samples analyzed. Half of those chemicals had no government testing on them - so we have no idea whether they are safe or harmful to health. Of those chemicals found that have had some government testing done on them these are the findings with their health effects.
• 2-Mercaptobenzothiazole -- Carcinogen, toxic to aquatic life
•9,10-Dimethylanthracene -- Carcinogen, respiratory irritant and can cause asthma
•Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate -- Carcinogen, may cause damage to fetuses
•Fluoranthene -- Carcinogen, Fluoranthene is one of the U.S. EPA's 16 priority pollutant -
[No. 48] Santa Rosa, California: Sonoma County football fields going with plant-derived infill over crumb rubberbecause of safety concerns. According to a news report in The Press Democrat (19 August 2015), “Casa Grande is now the third high school where athletes will play on turf lined with ground-up cork instead of rubber pellets, following the Petaluma school board’s vote Tuesday [18 August 2015] night to change the topping on the school’s planned new field after parents raised potential safety concerns. Casa joins two other schools, Analy and El Molino from the West County School District, whose administrators have changed to cork infill over crumb rubber following’ complaints. Petaluma High, which will have its field refurbished next year, will also now receive an alternative infill, superintendent Gary Callahan said Wednesday [19 August 2015]. A number of local parents have joined forces to challenge schools as they move to replace old, thirsty, expensive-to-maintain natural grass fields with artificial turf. Turf, which consists of a rock-and-sand foundation and a cushy rubber and plastic fake-grass surface, has become the go-to choice for schools and communities seeking more affordable and weather-resistant fields for football, soccer and lacrosse. On top of and in between the bright green ‘grass’ blades, manufacturers add a material for added cushion, comfort and durability. Most often, that topping is made from an otherwise difficult to recycle item – used vehicle tires. Some schools and communities have used the product for decades. But in the past year or so, anecdotal data from coaches raised concerns about potential health hazards associated with playing on the rubber pellets or breathing in gases that may be given off. In Petaluma, Casa’s $2.9 million field renovation originally included a turf field with a topping of crushed tire pellets, commonly called crumb rubber. But parents and others asked the board to reconsider. Some believe the rubber filling, which contains various carcinogenic chemicals, can be hazardous after prolonged contact with athletes’ skin, or if potential minute particles are inhaled. None of multiple studies on the product have proved health hazards, but concerns remain about the studies’ accuracy and objectivity. The state of California has agreed to conduct a more in-depth study into the issue. School board members, while not acknowledging that the fields hurt kids, agreed that alternatives are prudent. They supported a cork infill with a rock-and-sand base instead, adding another $132,000 to the project over the cost of the rubber and delaying completion for several weeks. Initially, the district planned to open the field in late October. Although the field was already two months into construction, Callahan said board members felt the parents’ concerns warranted a change. ‘The board certainly wasn’t saying those fields are dangerous, but they felt this was a more comfortable decision that the community can be comfortable with,’ he said. ‘You have enough of a public concern about the health of their child that the cost of making the change did not justify ignoring those concerns.’ Brian Mifsud, a parent who led the challenge in Petaluma, said he was thrilled the board listened. ‘I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome,’ he said. His son will play football this year at Casa. Callahan said the cork is billed as anti-microbial and anti-allergenic, and repels pests and mold.” Source: Lori A. Carter, “New Casa Grande field to have cork infill instead of rubber,” in The Press Democrat,” 19 August 2015, at http://www.pressdemocrat.com/sports/4362714-181/new-casa-grande-high-school?page=1
[No. 47] More details from the EHHI Study at YaleUniversity. In an Op-Ed piece entitled “Our children are playing on toxic grounds,” published in the Plainville Citizen on 26 June 2015, the author of the piece Nancy Alderman, President of Environment and Human Health, Inc., noted the following findings in an EHHI study of crumb rubber infill conducted by researchers and scientists at Yale University (see also Item No. 46 below): (excerpts)
The following is a summary of findings of chemical analysis conducted by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies of crumb rubber tire infill used in synthetic turf and rubber tire mulch used as surfacing material in toddler playgrounds.
The shredded rubber tire playground mulch samples tested were provided by the manufacturer and were purchased in new bags of rubber mulch for use in gardens and playgrounds. The rubber tire infill for synthetic turf fields was obtained as new infill material from installers of synthetic turf fields. There were five samples of infill from five different installers of fields and nine different samples of rubber mulch taken from nine different unopened bags of playground mulch.
1. 96 chemicals found in 14 samples analyzed. Each sample represented either a different synthetic field supplier or a different unopened bag of rubber playground mulch.
2. Of the 96 chemicals detected, 47 (49 percent) had no toxicity assessments done on them for their health effects.
3. Of the 96 chemicals detected, 49 (51 percent) have had some toxicity testing done, but even many of those had incomplete toxicity testing and therefore all health effects are not fully known.
4. Of the 49 chemicals that have been tested, 10 (20 percent) are probable carcinogens.
5. Of the 49 chemicals that have been tested, 19 (40 percent) are irritants.
Specifically, of the 40 percent of the chemicals that have been tested and are known to be irritants:
1. 12 (24 percent) are respiratory irritants; some causing asthma symptoms.
2. 18 (37 percent) can cause skin irritations.
3. 13 (27 percent) can cause eye irritations.
Chemicals are usually assessed for their toxicity one chemical at a time. Synergistic affects of being exposed to numerous chemicals at the same time is not known. From the data of this new study, it is reasonable to assume that persons playing on synthetic turf fields with rubber tire infill or toddler playgrounds surfaced with rubber tire mulch are being exposed concurrently to multiple chemicals.
This study did not analyze for carbon black that makes up to 30 percent of each tire, nor did it analyze the carbon black nanoparticles or the nanotubes that are now used in the manufacture of tires. These three additional substances add to the toxicity of the shredded rubber tires that our toddlers, children, students and athletes are playing on.
[No. 46] Scientists and health professionals are concerned about children playing on crumb rubber. On 11 June 2015, Lauren Leamanczyk, of WBZ-TV (CBS affiliate in Boston, Massachusetts) reported that “[s]cientists at YaleUniversity analyzed rubber material made from recycled tires used to soften playground surfaces and artificial turf fields… [and] … found dozens of chemicals in the material, many are probable cancer-causing agents and others can cause skin and breathing problems.” “[T]here are no long-term health studies looking at a direct link between the material and adverse health effects.” Associate professor of environmental health Joel Tickner of UMass Lowell told WBZ-TV that “[f] rankly, we don’t want to have those studies because if we have results that shows it’s a problem, we have already caused harm to children.” According to the report, “both Tickner and experts from the Harvard School of Public Health … disagree [with the Massachusetts department of Health’s position that] the material does not pose any long-term health concerns.” “If I were building a field in my town, I would avoid turf due to the uncertainties and the potential harm to children,” Tickner said. Source: Lauren Leamanczyk, “Playground Surfaces May Put Kids At Risk,” on WBZ-TV (CBS affiliate in Boston), 11 June 2015, athttp://boston.cbslocal.com/2015/06/11/i-team-playground-surfaces-may -put-kids-at-risk/
The Yale Study referenced in the foregoing refers to a study done for Environment and Human Health, Inc. (www.ehhi.org) at YaleUniversity. Gaboury Benoit, Ph.D., Professor of Environmental Chemistry and Engineering, is the lead investigator of the study. According to a press release by EHHI, dated 10 June 2015 (here). The study found 96 chemicals in the rubber tire infill used in synthetic turf and rubber tire mulch used as surfacing in toddler playgrounds. Of the 96 chemicals detected—alittle under a half have had no toxicity assessments done on them for their health effects—therefore nothing is known about them. The other half have had some toxicity testing done on them—but even many of those chemicals had incomplete toxicity testing and therefore all health effects are not fully known. Of the half that have had toxicity assessments, 20% are probable carcinogens. As well, 40% of the chemicals in that group were found to be irritants. 24% are respiratory irritants - some causing asthma symptoms; 37% are skin irritants; and 27% can cause eye irritants.
According to the press release, the shredded rubber tire playground mulch samples tested were provided by the manufacturers and were purchased in new bags of rubber mulch for use in gardens and playgrounds. The rubber tire infill for synthetic turf fields was obtained as new infill material from installers of synthetic turf fields.There were 5 samples of infill from 5 different installers of fields and 9 different samples of rubber mulch taken from 9 different unopened bags of playground mulch. This study did not analyze for the carbon black that makes up to 30% of each tire, nor did it analyze the carbon black nanoparticles or the nanotubes that are now used in the manufacture of tires. The study also did not test for heavy metals. It is known from other studies that rubber tires contain large amounts of zinc, according to the press release.
In an e-mail, dated 10 June 2015, the president of EHHI Nancy Alderman asked: “Why is it when PCBs are found in a school the school is closed while they remove it.No one says - we know it is a carcinogenbut we do not know whether the children will be exposed at a level that will harm them. Instead the carcinogen is removed before the children return. Why is it when asbestos is found in a school the school is closed while they remove it.No one says - we know it is a carcinogenbut we do not know whether the children will be exposed at a level that will harm them.Instead the carcinogen is removed before the children return. Why is it then when shredded rubber tires are put in schools,and these tire products containmany known carcinogens—not just one—the health departments say—yes there are carcinogens in the product—but we do not think the children will be exposed at a level that will harm them.In this case the carcinogens are not removed.” “[H]ealth departments and government agencies turn a blind eye to what is happening to a whole generation of children and athletes who are being exposed to numerous carcinogens—not just one as with PCBs and asbestos,” she noted.
On 11 June 2015, WBBM-TV (CBS affiliate in Chicago, Illinois), reported on the Yale study as confirming the stations’ own February 2015 tests that “the tiny [crumb] rubber pellets [on fields] often contain cancer-causing chemicals.” According to Chris Palenik of Microtrace, which conducted the station’s testing. “[t]he major components [of crumb rubber] were benzothiazole compound and polyaromatic hydrocarbons.” According to the report, likes of Teddy Shapiro, a teenage cancer patient, are frustrated by “these types of findings, including the unknown.” He has a rare form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma. Dr. Robert Cohen, from Northwestern Medicine, told CBS 2 that “there has been a lack of significant, long-term testing of crumb rubber to find out whether there is a health danger. ‘We know some of these chemicals do cause cancer. I think the frightening thing is that we just don’t have the information we need.’” Source: Dave Savini, “New Research Raises Safety Concerns About Crumb Rubber,” on WBBM-TV (CBS affiliate in Chicago, Illinois), 11 June 2015, at http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2015/06/11/2-investigators-new-research-raises-safety-concerns-about-crumb-rubber/
According to sources in contact with Associate Head Soccer Coach at the University of Washington Amy Griffin, as of 13 June 2015, her list of players with cancer has grown to 153 cases, from various parts of the United States, with 32 in WashingtonState. Of the 153 cancer cases, 124 are soccer players. Of the 124 soccer players 85 are soccer goalies.6 other players are either Field Hockey of Lacrosse players; 18 are football players; and5 are baseball players. Meanwhile, on 11 June 2015, KIRO-TV in Seattle, Washington, reported that “[t]here’s a major development in the fight over artificial fields made out of crumb rubber. Tests will be done nationwide, including Western Washington, to determine if there is a link between ground-up tires and cancer. The Everett Boys and Girls Club has one of the fields being tested. The new artificial field was completed in November, but there is concern over its safety. In Edmonds, parents have been fighting construction of an artificial field made with the same material at the old WoodwayHigh School. In May, Edmonds parents voiced their concerns to the school board, but construction is going forward. The Everett Herald reports that the Everett Boys and Girls Club field was built by the Cal Ripken Senior Foundation. It paid for the field and 41 others across the nation. Now, it will also pay for the testing at six locations, including Everett. The EdmondsSchool District said it hired specialists who didn't find any health risks with their field. ‘We’ve had no reports, in fact up until two months ago, there was no concerns regarding this,’ Debbie Joyce Jakala with the EdmondsSchool District said.
The tests at the Everett Boys and Girls Club are being conducted by Labosport based in Montreal, Canada. Results are expected in the next several months. If the tests show any problems, the foundation is willing to replace all 42 fields, each costing about $50,000. Source: “Crumb rubber fields to be tested for possible link to cancer,” on KIRO-TV (CBS affiliate in Seattle), 12 June 2015, at http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/crumb-rubber-fields-be-tested-possible-link-cancer/nmbsh/ .
The tests at the Everett Boys and Girls Club would be more credible if it were not funded by artificial turf industry interests; tested for long-term effect of exposure to one and to a combination of harmful substances (not a study of few months’ duration which is either going to be single-exposure test and/or review of existing misguided and defective studies often touted by the crumb rubber industry and plastic grass sellers). Sources tell SynTurf.org that the testing organization, Labosport, once conducted a test in Montreal that produced all of 2 pages (holding back the rest of the test results from the public). “It only tested metals and used small samples. They also only tested for ingestion. They tested no other chemicals,” sources say. Go here.According to another source, the study “was insulting to the intelligence.”
[No. 45] Carbon nanotubes as dangerous as asbestos. In an article published in the Scientific American (May 2008), based on a study by University of Edinburgh/MRC Center for Inflammation Research, Larry Greenemeier concludes that carbon nanotubes are as dangerous as asbestos, the research showing that long, needle-thin carbon nanotubes could lead to lung cancer.” The following is the reprint of the article “Study Says Carbon Nanotubes as Dangerous as Asbestos; New research shows that long, needle-thin carbon nanotubes could lead to lung cancer,” in Scientific American, 20 May 2008, at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/carbon-nanotube-danger/ (Courtesy of the University of Edinburgh/MRC Center for Inflammation Research) in its entirety, followed by SynTurf.org Notes contaning comments of our readers:
Inhaling carbon nanotubes could be as harmful as breathing in asbestos, and its use should be regulated lest it lead to the same cancer and breathing problems that prompted a ban on the use of asbestos as insulation in buildings, according a new study posted online today by Nature Nanotechnology.
During the study, led by the Queen's Medical Research Institute at the University of Edinburgh/MRC Center for Inflammation Research (CIR) in Scotland, scientists observed that long, thin carbon nanotubes look and behave like asbestos fibers, which have been shown to cause mesothelioma , a deadly cancer of the membrane lining the body’s internal organs (in particular the lungs) that can take 30 to 40 years to appear following exposure. Asbestos fibers are especially harmful, because they are small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs yet too long for the body's immune system to destroy.
The researchers reached their conclusions after they exposed lab mice to needle-thin nanotubes: The inside lining of the animals' body cavities became inflamed and formed lesions.
Carbon nanotubes are generally made from sheets of graphite no thicker than an atom—about a nanometer, or one billionth of a meter wide—and formed into cylinders, with the diameter varying from a few nanometers up to tens of nanometers. (They can be hundreds or even thousands of nanometers long.) There is a greater concern about “multiwalled” nanotubes consisting of several reinforced cylinders, because they are able to retain their pointy shapes better than thinner nanotubes.
Scientists have been noting the similarities between carbon nanotubes and asbestos for the past few years, says study co-author Andrew Maynard, chief science advisor for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars's Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, based in Washington, D.C. Maynard, who has been researching and warning of the potential health and environmental risks of carbon nanotubes since 2003, says that there has been no coordinated effort to date to analyze the findings of carbon nanotube toxicity studies. He notes that technology companies have not found that the risks of using carbon nanotubes outweigh the benefits—they are excellent conductors of electricity.
Carbon nanotubes can also be used to reinforce polymers to create very strong plastics. University of Michigan at Ann Arbor researchers are scaling the strength of nanosheets and a nanoscale polymer resembling white glue. Visually, it looks like a brick wall, in which clay nanosheet "bricks" are held together by water-soluble polyvinyl alcohol "mortar". The result, according to the researchers, is a composite plastic that is light and transparent but as strong as steel.
IBM has identified carbon nanotubes as important for studying electrical and optical phenomena on the nanometer scale, and the company has high hopes for the technology. Carbon nanotubes show promise as building blocks for computer chips that are "smaller, faster and lower power" than those made of silicon, Phaedon Avouris, an IBM fellow and lead researcher on the company's carbon nanotube efforts, wrote in the March 2007 issue of Physics World. "One of the most exciting developments in carbon nanotube research is the recent discovery that nanotubes can emit light," he added. "That finding opens the door to circuits in which standard copper interconnects are replaced by optical waveguides made from nanotubes—allowing the possibility of fully integrated optoelectronic circuits."
Nanotubes are likewise being developed for use in new drugs, energy-efficient batteries, electronics and other products under the assumption that they are no more dangerous than graphite. But some scientists and environmentalists like Maynard caution that they harbor hidden dangers. Compounding this concern is the prediction that the market for carbon nanotubes will grow from $6 million in 2004 to more than $1 billion by 2014, according to studies by a number of firms, including the Freedonia Group. A 2006 report from Lux Research projected that nanoscale technologies will be used in $2.6 trillion worth of manufactured goods by the year 2014.
The Edinburgh CIR study, which will also appear in the June issue of Nature Nanotechnology, was very specific, looking only at nanotubes that emulated fiber behavior and their potential to cause a certain type of cancer; other types of nanotubes could affect the body differently—for better or worse, researchers say.
Maynard and his colleagues focused their attention specifically on the hypothesis that long, thin carbon nanotubes could have the same impact as similarly shaped asbestos fibers. “If you get these things into the lungs,” he says, “they form scarlike tissue, and the body sees them like a scaffolding, building new cells over them and thickening the walls of the lungs.”
The study is not intended to keep nanotechnology from developing further but rather to flag potential dangers of nanotubes in places at manufacturing and disposal sites, the researchers wrote in their paper.
“There is an immediate need to examine how carbon nanotubes are being used and see if there’s any chance that [people] are being exposed to dangerous materials,” Maynard says, adding that no one paid attention to the dangers of asbestos until it was too late for a lot of people.
2. According to Nancy Alderman, president of Environment and Human Health, Inc.,“None of the studies that have looked at the safety of synthetic turf fields or playground rubber tire mulch have taken into consideration the health effects of the carbon black nanoparticles in the shredded rubber tires. Schools shut down when asbestos is found—and yet here the nation is endorsing at all levels of government—putting children on fields and playgrounds with carbon black nanoparticles that are now shown to act like asbestos in the lungs.”
3. One of our readers (Kathy) commented: “For credibility and appropriate regulation [i]t is important for anyone using the nanoparticle information to get certain distinctions clear: Carbon nanotubes vs carbon nanoparticles. (NO such thing as“carbon black nanotubes”).They are very different. As I understand it: “Carbon nanotubes” are man-made engineered tubelikenanoparticles which are needle-like and added in small amounts to tires to strengthen the rubber mix. Because of their microscopic subcellular size they can cause damage at minute exposures within the body. Elemental “carbon nanoparticles” are the natural particles which aggregate to form carbon black, the black powder that is a major constituent of tires. To what extent carbon black disaggregates into nanoparticles again is not known. But certainly carbon black dust made up of aggregated carbon particles, plus other “stuff” adsorbed to those particles, coats balls, children and maybe lungs. Both can potentially cause harm but the needlelike nanotubes maybe more so at lower levels.It is important to talk about them separately since they are not the same, are likely to have different effectsand are present in vastly different proportions.”
4. Kathy further commented: “Two facets of the problem need to be teased out. (1) Carbon black as a large and majorintrinsic source of harmful particles of all sizes; and (2) the other facet of the problemis separate—added-- nanoparticles (zinc and other nanoparticles could be added as well as crbon nanotubes!) illustrating how the recipe of potential toxins is a ever unknown and moving target. Under the category of how tires are an ever changing—Pandora’s box of toxins and potential toxins—in addition to carbon black itself which is a large constituent of tires, companies are also adding engineered carbon nanotubes, exposure to which could be harmful at levels an order of magnitude below larger particles because of their microscopic cell organelle level size. There is no way of knowing if the nanotubes stay bound with larger ground up particles or are released from the matrix (as silver nanotubes have been found to be from materials when washed).”
[No. 44] Worcester, Massachusetts: Sports surfaces consultant on crumb rubber. A news story in Telegram & Gazette(9 May 2015), quoted Joseph W. DiGeronimo, who runs the Sturbridge-based design and consulting firm DMA/DiGeronimo-Mikula Associates and has been involved in more than 400 artificial turf projects, saying “90 percent of [artificial turf] fields are recycled car tires…. Regarding assertions that potential health risks are connected with the small rubber pellets used in artificial turf fields, Mr. DiGeronimo said, ‘From a lay professional point of view and with 44 years in the sports business, I can tell you that rubber has enough chemicals in it to be a concern. I have seen five other chemicals or minerals outlawed from sports surfacing over the years … And they weren’t as bad.’” Source: Craig S. Semon, “Athletic officials praise turf as playing surface,” in Telegram & Gazette, 9 May 2015, at http://www.telegram.com/article/20150509/NEWS/150509510
[No. 43] West Sonoma County: San Francisco Bay Area, California: No crumb rubber infill for Sebastopol’s Analy High School and Forestville’s El Modino High School playing fields.According to a report on KTVU (Fox 2,Oakland, 27 March 2015), the West Sonoma County High School District had decided several years ago to revamp the stadiums and replace the fields at Analy High School and El Molino High, pulling out grass and putting in synthetic fields. According to the district’s director of operations, Jennie Bruneman, “[t]he new fields will come with shredded cork filler, instead of the common crumb rubber filler. ‘Protecting our students is I think paramount to everything,’ said Bruneman.” KTVU has been investigating the potential health risks of crumb rubber. It spoke with Delaney Frye, a “high school soccer goalie who developed thyroid cancer possibly—she says—because of repeated exposure to [crumb rubber].”Source: John Sasaki, “North Bay school opts for cork field instead of controversial crumb rubber,” on KTVU (Fox 2,Oakland), 27 March 2015, at http://wn.ktvu.com/story/28627379/north-bay-school-opts-for-cork-field-instead-of-controversial-crumb-rubber
[No. 42] Frankfurt, Kentucky: Energy and Environment Cabinet suspends the crumb rubber grant program for playing surfaces, supportsa national study to measure impacts of recreational use of crumb rubber surfacing; House of Representatives passes a resolution applauding the EEC. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. 1 April 2015. The Division of Waste Management of the Department for Environmental Protection of the Energy and Environment Cabinet manages Kentucky’s Crumb Rubber Grant Program. The program assists (subsidizes, really) the “recycling” of tires by local governments, such as buying and using crumb rubber for a variety of purposes, including for use in playgrounds and playing fields. Kentucky has an acute used tire issue: It has an annual inventory of 4 million tires through the sale of new tires as well as imports from other states. The crumb rubber program is funded through a statutory tire fee levied on the purchase of each new tire in Kentucky. For details, seehttp://waste.ky.gov/RLA/Waste%20Tires/Pages/CrumbRubber.aspx .
Just before Christmas 2014 the Energy and Environment Cabinet suspended its policy regarding crumb rubber grants for use by schools, daycares, parks, and communities for the Fiscal Year 2015, pending further study of the issues raised in the NBC reports and by health advocates. “With regards to playgrounds and athletic fields that currently contain crumb rubber,” EEC stated, “there is no conclusive evidence that crumb rubber surfacing for playgrounds or athletic fields is unsafe for recreational users.” However, [r]esearch to date has been inconclusive, contradictory or limited in scope,” EEC stated. According to the statement, “[t]he cabinet supports a national study to measure any possible impacts of recreational use of crumb rubber surfacing.” See Recycling and Local Assistance Branch (Crumb Rubber), “Changes to Crumb Rubber Grant Program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015,” at http://waste.ky.gov/RLA/Waste%20Tires/Pages/CrumbRubber.aspx or here.
Mary Lou Marzian
Meanwhile efforts were being exerted in the Legislature to effect the suspension of the crumb rubber program as a matter of law. On 9 February 2015, Representative Mary Lou Marzian (D) of Louisville introduced a bill House Joint Resolution 124, which called for the imposition of a moratorium waste tire grants. According to the resolution’s legislative note, the “moratorium is proposed due to concerns regarding potential air and water contamination from tire shreds and that exposure by children and the unborn can cause birth defects, neurological and developmental deficits, and cancer.” Accordingly, the resolution would suspend the crumb rubber grant program “until it is determined by either the United States Environmental Protection Agency or the Centers for Disease Control the use of recycled tire materials pose no threat to health, human safety, or the environment.” See legislative note at http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/15RS/HJ124.htm .
HR124 was not adopted, but its text laid out, as a matter of legislative record, a litany of precise reasons for the moratorium that it was seeking. The preamble of the resolution note that “environmental groups, hospitals, doctors, universities, and the United States Protection Agency have expressed new concerns about the chemicals found in tire shreds;” and “Mount Sinai Children's Environmental Health Center stated there is a potential air and water contamination from tire shreds and that exposure by children and the unborn can cause birth defects, neurologic and developmental deficits, and even cancer;” and “chemicals causing the most concern include carbon black, arsenic, cadmium, and benzene;” and “tire shreds also contain phthalates, which are known hormonal disruptors; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which cause cancer and increase the chance of birth defects; and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can cause asthma, eye and throat irritation, and various types of cancer.” See text via http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/15RS/HJ124.htm (or here).
On 3 March 2015, Representative Kelly Flood (D) of Lexington introduced House Resolution 206, entitled “A Resolution commending the Energy and Environment Cabinet for suspending crumb rubber grants and encouraging the cabinet to continue studying the health effects of recycled waste tires.” It was adopted the next day. It acknowledged the Energy and Environment Cabinet’s suspension of “awarding grants from the program due to health and safety concerns with using crumb rubber after environmental groups, hospitals, doctors, universities, and the United States Environmental protection Agency expressed new concerns about the chemicals found in tire shreds.” It also urged the EEC “to voluntarily study the health effects associated with using waste tires for downstream recycled products.”
HR206, like the previous resolution, noted the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center statement that “there is a potential air and water contamination from tire shreds and that exposure by children and the unborn can cause birth defects, neurologic and developmental deficits, and even cancer;” and that “chemicals causing the most concern include carbon black, arsenic, cadmium, and benzene;’ and that “tire shreds also contain phthalates, which are known hormonal disruptors; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which cause cancer and increase the chance of birth defects; and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can cause asthma, eye and throat irritation, various types of cancer.” For the text of HR206 please go to http://www.lrc.ky.gov/record/15RS/HR206.htm or here.
[No. 41] Santa Rosa, California: WestSonomaUnionHighSchool District says no to crumb rubber infill. According to a news report in The Press democrat (4 March 2015), on 4 March 2015, West Sonoma Union High School District officials “decided [unanimously] to abandon crumb rubber in proposed athletic fields at two west county high schools,” in an about face move from its unanimous decision last November to go with crumb rubber. The WSUHSD “board members weighed nine infill options for the athletic fields at Analy and El Molino high schools. After listening to a number of residents, the board directed staff to look at the cost and maintenance associated with two options: an infill made from 100 percent cork and another made from coconut fiber and cork.” “Residents were thrilled with the quick move to boot crumb rubber … A group of parents had raised concerns over the crumb rubber and the potential of exposing their children to hazardous chemicals. Even though the price of the alternative infills is 170,000-27000 more per filed, Board member Kellie Noe noted that student safety comes first: “I don’t think there’s a price we can put on the safety of our students,” she said during the meeting.” Source: Eloísa Ruano González, “No crumb rubber for west county schools’ turf,” in The Press Democrat, 4 March 2015, at http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/local/3613400-181/no-crumb-rubber-for-west
[No. 40] Rayton, Kansas: Retired Goodyear tire engineer says toxic and carcinogenic chemicals in ground rubber are absorbed by the body and breathed into the lungs. William Castrop, 62, of Raytown, Kansas, is a retired Goodyear Tire engineer and former chief operating officer with McCord Tire and Manufacturing Co. He has been researching the toxicity of crumb rubber issue since 2013, and his findings are being reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Central University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. In a letter to the editor at The Kansas City Star (1 March 2015), he wrote:
It seems as if only the medical community cares about crumb rubber being used on sporting fields and playgrounds. These new fields located throughout the city are made using ground rubber.
Carbon black, chloride chlorine, hydrochloride, phosphorus, benzene styrene and cesium all are listed in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Material Safety Data Sheets as toxic chemicals as well as carcinogenic and sarcoma-, leukemia-, lymphoma-causing chemicals.
These chemicals are absorbed by the body and breathed into the lungs. These chemicals can cause death. The toxicity has been verified by mass spectrometer readings at three locations.
[No. 39] San Mateo, California: Crumb rubber infill is ruled out at LosPradosPark. According to news report in The Daily Journal (23 February 2015): “After spending more than two years contemplating the first city-owned artificial turf, the City Council decided … it would not use the controversial, yet common, crumb rubber infill. As questions surrounding the impacts using of recycled tires on synthetic turf fields surface, the San Mateo City Council is treading carefully as it plans a multi-million dollar revamp of LosPradosPark. Instead, city staff will continue to evaluate current studies and data on the use of EPDM, manufactured virgin rubber, and TPE, a combination of manufactured plastic and rubber, as infill alternatives, said Recreation Division Manager Paul Council.” “’There’s a wide range of health issues that are in play, there’s a wide range of environmental issues that are in play. But in general, our reading of it is that there’s relative consistency to the findings of those. There’s not contradictory studies that we were able to find that met our criteria of being either government sponsored or peer reviewed,’ Council said.” Source: Samantha Weigel, “San Mateo officials against using recycled tires for park,” in The Daily Journal, 23 February 2015, at http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2015-02-23/san-mateo-officials-against-using-recycled-tires-for-park/1776425138845.html
[No. 38] Montgomery County, Maryland, joins New York City, Newton (Massachusetts), Los Angeles Unified School District, and Los Angeles Department of Recreation & Parks to move away from crumb rubber infill in artificial turf fields. In 2008-2009, New York City decided to move away from crumb rubber infill at its artificial turf fields. For the story, seehttp://www.synturf.org/crumbrubber.html (Items No. 20, 21, 22, 26 and 27).
On 20 January 2009, the legislative organ of City of Newton, Massachusetts, the Board of Aldermen, adopted a resolution calling for “eco-friendly” artificial turf fields. Adopted on first call, with no debate, by a vote of 22-0, with two absent, the operational Resolution #7-09 read:
WHEREAS, the Board of Alderman has approved funding for the installation of synthetic in-filled turf athletic fields on city-owned property; and
WHEREAS, the use of synthetic turf and infill products that, to the maximum extent feasible, are sustainable, recyclable, and free of lead, carcinogens and other potentially harmful substances will best promote and protect the public health and safety, and the environment;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Aldermen hereby requests that His Honor the Mayor ensure that the installation of synthetic in-filled turf athletic fields on city-owned property shall use sustainable, recyclable, lead-free, non-toxic products to the maximum extent feasible.
In October 2009, as the result of a challenge by a group of citizens the City of Newton, Massachusetts, by his mayor, agreed to a number of conditions in order to pave the way for the completion of an artificial turf field in Newton South High School (“Settlement Agreemnt).” Among the conditions were a series of tests and studies that the City undertook to carry out—including those required by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Item 1 (h) of the agreement provided:
Newton agrees that at the future time of full replacement of the synthetic turf carpet, Newton shall consider the use of alternative in-fill material other than crumb rubber in-fill, including in-fill materials made of natural ingredients that are biodegradable which is demonstrated to have performance viability comparable to crumb rubber, if then available.
The text of the Newton Settlement Agreement is available here.
Meanwhile, still in 2009, AngelesUnifiedSchool District did the same. Recently, in 2014, Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks decided to move away from crumb rubber infill as well. For the story, seehttp://www.synturf.org/precautionaryprinciple.html (Item No. 03).
According to a news report on Montgomery Community Media (10 February 2015), on 10 February 2015, the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution “to support use of plant-derived materials for infill in artificial turf playing fields.” The resolution was vetted first by the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee. According to the Chair of the committee, Roger Berliner, “[f]or years, community members have expressed concerns about the potential health and environmental impacts of crumb rubber used in our County’s artificial turf fields. Today, our County turns the page on this debate. Going forward, our artificial turf fields will use plant-derived materials that do not pose health or environmental concerns. Significantly, this is a decision that has the unanimous support of the Council, our Parks Department and our school system.” Sonya Burke, “Councilmember Berliner Applauds Council “Turning the Page” on Artificial Turf,” on Montgomery Community Media (MCM), 10 February 2015, at http://www.mymcmedia.org/councilmember-berliner-applauds-council-turning-the-page-on-artificial-turf/
The Agenda packet relating to County Council resolution – as posted at http://montgomerycountymd.granicus.com/GeneratedAgendaViewer.php?view_id=6&event_id=1709(Item 3.L) (available also here) consists of a Memorandum from Senior Legislative Analyst to the Council, dated 6 February 2015, and its attachments: Memorandum from the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee to the Council, dated 5 November 2014, and the “Summary of Study Results for Alternative Infills for Synthetic Turf Fields,” dated 23 January 2015, are found here.
SynTurf.org Note: It is SynTurf.org’s position that the fact of availability of alternative infills should never be a reason or a justification for installing artificial turf fields. According to Nancy Alderman, President, Environmental and Human Health, Inc., www.ehhi.org, “[n]one of the alternative [infills] ha[s] been independently tested,” she wrote in an e-mail to EHHI’s list on 13 February 2015. “There is really nothing known about these—and people should be advocating natural grass—not additional synthetic fields. No one has even discussed whether the plastic grass itself posses health problems—no[.] one has looked at it—and we simply have no idea.”
[No. 36] Medway, Massachusetts: Turf Grass Forum addresses use of crumb rubber in artificial turf fields.On November 19, 2014, a panel of four speakers, invited by a group of residents of Medway—the “Medway 6” that comprises the nucleus of Turf Grass Forum www.facebook.com/turfgrassforum, discussed the use of crumb rubber (tire crumb) in artificial turf fields before a well-attended crowd assembled at the Medway Middle School auditorium. Among the speakers were an old hand in the rubber and tire industry, Michael Blumenthal, with 29 years experience in the scrap tire industry. In period between 1990 and 2014 he represented US-based tire manufacturers first as executive director of the Scrap Tire management Council and then as Vice President of the Rubber Manufacturers Association. The other panelists included Domenic Carapella of GeoSafePlay/GeoTurf USA and Joe DiGeronimo, a member of the Synthetic Turf Council and Association of Synthetic Grass Installers. As complied by www.ehhi.org the following statements were made:
1.There is one waste tire for every person in the United States.
2.In 1990, the US banned waste tires from going into landfills.The government therefore had to find another way to get rid of used tires.
3. By 1992 ground up used tires were worked into asphalt—but that did not get rid of enough of the tires.
4. Then used tires were ground up into different sizes and used for toddler playgrounds, synthetic turf fields, and garden mulch.
5. 1,000 new fields are being installed every year .
6. Fields last about 8 years—and then the old rubber tire infill goes into landfills.
7. It costs about half again as much as the original field to replenish the synthetic field after is wears out.
8. The cost of removal of rubber tire infill from a field costs $ 50,000.
9. To infill a field with another type of infill will cost $125,000. So the total cost of removing the rubber tire infill and replacing it with something else is about $200,000.
10. The synthetic turf fields are infilled with so many different tires that if you test for chemical content you will get one result from the 10 yard line and a different result on the 50 yard line.
11. Small children and young students breath faster than adults and they are closer to the ground. Their exposures are therefore probably much higher than older students.
12. There are nano black particles in the manufacturing of rubber tires.
[No. 35]Nanoparticles of carbon blackand othersubstances of concern in crumb rubber. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. 12 October 20124. In 2009, Jim Novak of Turfgrass Producers International published an article entitled “Exposure to crumb rubber nanoparticles could lead to serious health issues.” In the same year, the article appeared in Turf & Recreation, a national publication serving the Canadian turf and grounds maintenance industry (http://www.turfandrec.com/). The following is the verbatim republication of that piece as it appeared in Turf & Recreation at http://www.turfandrec.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2986(2009).
I’M not a big fan of articles that pose a lot of questions and offer few, if any, answers. Listening to conspiracy theories, hearing “what if” scenarios, or reading articles that make unfounded claims and present mere speculation often do little more than ruffle the feathers of a few people and enrage others.
The debate over the health safety of synthetic turf fields has gone back and forth for years. Concerns about toxic metals, silica sand, staph infections, dangerously high surface temperatures, proper methods of disposal, etc., are just a few of the significant issues that have come under scrutiny.
However, there are times when information comes to light that requires broader attention. Such is the case with a growing concern expressed by many health care professionals and research scientists regarding the possible health consequences of carbon black nanoparticles present in tires that make up tire crumb; the most common infill used on artificial turf fields.
Nanoparticles are particles less than 100 nanometres in diameter. A nanometer is a billionth of a metre, about the size of six carbon atoms in a row.
For comparison, a human hair is about 80,000 nanometres wide and a strand of DNA is two nanometres wide. To visualize it another way, a nanometre is to one inch as one inch is to 400 miles.
Whether you are for or against artificial turf, this subject is important; especially if you have children who play on artificial turf fields or visit playgrounds that use tire crumb for cushioning; or if you are a student or professional athlete who plays football, soccer, rugby, lacrosse or baseball on fields that use tire crumb as an infill.
The concern: Carbon black nanoparticles make up 30 per cent or more of car tires; the same tires that are pulverized for creating the tire crumb used on artificial turf playing fields and on playgrounds for children. Engineered carbon nanotubes and other engineered nanoparticles (zinc, titanium, etc.) are often made in specific shapes to give added strength and durability to tires and other goods. It is the long thin nature of engineered carbon nanotubes that has some scientists drawing a comparison between the possible health hazards of tire crumb with asbestos.
How do carbon nanotubes affect lung tissue?
The study Greenemier referenced was posted by Nature Nanotechnology led by the Queen’s Medical Research Institute at the University of Edinburg/MRC Center for Inflammation Research in Scotland. Their research showed that long, needle-thin carbon nanotubes could lead to lung cancer and inhaling carbon nanotubes could be as harmful as breathing asbestos.
A carbon nanotube is a carbon molecule that resembles a cylinder made out of chicken wire that is one to two nanometres in diameter by any number of millimetres in length. Nanotubes have a tensile strength 10 times greater than steel and they are considered the strongest material for their weight known to mankind. It should be noted that carbon black is a natural although manufactured material made up of carbon nanoparticles; carbon nanotubes are created/engineered by scientists and are much rarer although apparently highly toxic at low concentrations.
The study suggested that inhaling carbon nanotubes could lead to the same cancer and breathing problems that prompted a ban on asbestos as insulation in buildings.
The research scientists observed that long, thin carbon nanotubes look and behave like asbestos fibres, which have been shown to cause mesothelioma, a deadly cancer of the membrane lining the body’s internal organs (particularly the lungs) and can take 30 to 40 years to appear following exposure.
Asbestos fibres are especially harmful, because they are small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs yet too long for the body’s immune system to destroy. Just how small are carbon nanotubes? They are no thicker than an atom, or one billionth of a metre wide, or approximately 10,000 times smaller than a human hair.
Andrew Maynard, the study’s co-author and chief science adviser for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholar’s Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies based in Washington, D.C., has been researching and warning of the potential health and environmental risks of carbon nanotubes since 2003 and is quoted as saying there had been no coordinated effort to date to analyze the findings of carbon nanotube toxicity studies.
Since the initial release of the MRC study other researchers have expressed their concerns as well. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reported their research methods demonstrate that breathing nanoparticles may result in damaging health effects.
NIOSH scientists invented a way to suspend nanotubes in the air so the concentration of particles could be carefully controlled. Mice were placed into a carefully-controlled environment where they could breathe the air containing the particles. Scientists studied the effects of exposure after one, seven, and 28 days. The research showed that carbon nanotubes were more potent when inhaled than when aspirated. In addition, the research showed early indications of serious health outcomes that may have longer term effects such as cancer, and therefore, ongoing research is important to more clearly understand the implications of exposure to carbon nanotubes.
In May 2008, Nature Nanotechnology reported a similar finding, “Carbon nanotubes introduced into the abdominal cavity of mice show asbestos-like pathogenicity in a pilot study.”
The study reported, “Carbon nanotubes have distinctive characteristics, but their needle-like fibre shape has been compared to asbestos, raising concerns that widespread use of carbon nanotubes may lead to mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs similar to that caused by exposure to asbestos.
“Exposing the mesothelial lining of the body cavity of mice, as a surrogate for the mesothelial lining of the chest cavity, to long multi-walled carbon nanotubes results in asbestos-like, length-dependent, pathogenic behaviour. This includes inflammation and the formation of lesions known as granulomas. This is of considerable importance, because research and business communities continue to invest heavily in carbon nanotubes for a wide range of products under the assumption that they are no more hazardous than graphite. Our results suggest the need for further research and great caution before introducing such products into the market if long-term harm is to be avoided.”
How do carbon black nanoparticles get to brain tissue?
Peter Gehr, a professor of histology (the study of tissue) and anatomy at the University of Bern in Switzerland, stated that synthetic nanoparticles can penetrate tissue and cells, and spread throughout the body—even to the brain.
Gehr is astonished that potential health risks of synthetic nanoparticles are barely acknowledged outside the scientific world and government agencies. “If nanoparticles are not solidly bound to another material, there is a risk that we could inhale them. They can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the entire body. The mere fact that particles penetrate into the body is a problem.”
Carbon black nanoparticles: what about the children?
Environment and Human Health, Inc. has asked the following questions about nanoparticles in the tire crumb infill used as mulch for playgrounds used by children:
1. How does the knowledge that carbon black nanoparticles are added to rubber tires affect the risk assessments done on synthetic turf and the rubber mulch used in toddlers’ playgrounds?
2. Because none of the risk assessments done up to the present time on rubber tire crumbs or playground mulch have taken into consideration the fact that carbon black nanoparticles have been added to rubber tires—how does this fact affect the claim by some jurisdictions that rubber tire crumbs and rubber tire playground mulch are safe for children to play on?
3. As children play on synthetic turf fields and playground mulch, dust develops. Are nanoparticles in the dust? If so, are they capable of being aspirated into the children’s lungs? Who is researching this? Rubber tires are designed for cars and trucks; they were never designed for grinding up and putting where children play. How does this fact affect some jurisdictions’ approvals for putting used tire crumb where children play?
4. Could this be another example of a toxic material getting out into the environment without enough testing?
Perhaps neuroscientist, Dr. Kathleen Michels summarized it best: “Carbon black is the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in the room that no one wants to talk about, or take notice of, but it has the potential to wreck everything in its path. First, It has been declared a possible carcinogen by the U.S. government and by the World Health Organization. Then, carbon black used in tires consists of the purest, smallest (ultrafine) nanoparticles, giving them a unique potential toxicity throughout the body.
“Normally this might not be a problem for any individual, since most of the carbon black is trapped inside a tire. However, when you pulverize tires for use in children’s playing fields, whether done at ambient or cold temperatures, everything in them (including carbon black particles) becomes more available to interact with the environment and people since the surface area to volume increases exponentially as you go from whole tire, to pulverized tire granule to the dust that becomes airborne with weathering and the impact of each child’s footfall and body. Finally, the sheer concentrated volume of this pulverized carbon black material should get serious attention: tires are 30 per cent or more carbon black so a 200-ton tire crumb-laden sports field contains around 60 tons of carbon black—an unprecedented exposure that deserves serious attention and research.
“But carbon black is not the only nanoparticle containing component of tires. Engineered nanoparticles such as carbon nanotubes, which may have asbestos-like toxicity, are also being added to tires. But how much and to which tires is difficult to determine. Which highlights a main problem with tire crumb: the recipe of any company’s tires is proprietary so we never know exactly what the ingredients are for any individual tire much less a bag of tire crumb (and even less the 30,000 or so tires in a sports field!).
“Some schools which have tire crumb on fields or playgrounds close to their classrooms report a fine grey dust on school surfaces inside when windows are open. Most artificial turf fields with tire crumb are still relatively young. There is no evidence yet of long-term harm from this unprecedented, often chronic, exposure of children to carbon black or other tire components from playing on tire crumb; but then again there are no studies on children exposed chronically to tire crumb over time. But there are worrying studies on exposure to carbon black particles in the air. Shouldn’t we be asking the questions and following up on the exposed children with research?”
Important: There are different types of nanoparticles made of different building blocks, and each type of nanoparticle can be unique in its actions and effects, and act differently in engineered products as well as in the body.
It is true that frequent exposure to nanoparticles from many consumer products means some nanoparticles are getting into us.
It is also true that cell studies suggest that some types of nanoparticles can damage the DNA or cause cell death in different parts of the body, such as the brain, the lungs or blood vessels.
The term “nanoparticle” is not intended to apply to all nanoparticles but, in this case, carbon black nanoparticles.
“People either have no idea about nanoparticles or do not regard them as a problem,” said Dr. Peter Gehr, professor of histology and anatomy at the University of Bern.
“The potential risks are also of little interest at the political level. People are simply not reacting to the possible harmful aspects of synthetic nanoparticles right now. The mere fact that particles penetrate into the body is a problem, but this is barely acknowledged outside the realms of science and government agencies.”
The aforementioned comments were based on research reports and articles from numerous health care organizations, research scientists, health care professionals and nanotechnology experts who represent a wide variety of non-biased and reputable sources. Because the subject matter is likely to stir interest and create some controversy, we have provided a partial list of numerous reference materials so readers can reach their own conclusion.
• “Study Says Carbon Nanotubes as Dangerous as Asbestos.” New research shows long, needle-thin carbon nanotubes could lead to lung cancer.
• “As Nanotech's Promise Grows, Will Puny Particles Present Big Health Problems?” Amid the great promise nanotechnology offers, big questions remain on health dangers posed by exposure to tissue-penetrating particles.
• “YouTube VIDEO — ‘Toxic Chemicals: The Safety of Synthetic Fields and How Environmental Laws are Failing Our Children’” — 9:40 into nanoparticles. Speaker: Dr. Joel Forman, associate professor of pediatrics and community and preventive medicine, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and other researchers offer their latest findings on the potential health and environmental risks associated with crumb rubber in-fill used on synthetic turf fields. Panel: Dr. Susan Buchanan, clinical assistant professor, environmental and occupational health sciences, University of Illinois Chicago; Dr. Helen Binns, professor in pediatrics and preventive medicine, Children Memorial Hospital Chicago; and Carolyn Raffensperger, environmental lawyer and executive director of science and environmental health network.
• “Induction of Inflammasome-dependent Pyroptosis by Carbon Black Nanoparticles.” The Journal of Biological Chemistry
• “Nanoparticles can penetrate brain tissue.” Interview with Dr. Peter Gehr, professor of histology (the study of tissue) and anatomy at the University of Bern in Switzerland by the Federal Office for the Environment (the Swiss federal government’s centre of environmental expertise). Dr. Gehr is internationally renowned as a researcher and for his studies on the behaviour of nanoparticles in the lungs and on their interaction with cells.
According to news item in The Alamanc (16 Juen 2014), on 12 June 2014, McNitt, addressing more than 30 residents of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, on the improvements to the fields at the municipality’s Main Park, stated “that natural turf can get muddy and only take one event before it needs to be groomed…. [R]esearch shows that most high school fields need to be renovated after 80 events per year. He said with artificial turf fields, the negatives are the cost, injury potential, heat and chemicals used in the turf…He added that with artificial turf, the crumb rubber or other type of infill needs to be replaced or ‘top dressed’ on a regular basis. He said between 6,000 and 7,000 pounds of crumb rubber can come out of a field each year. With organic infill, some type of shock absorption pad would need to be used, which can run about $50,000….While McNitt is not a toxicologist, but a soil scientist, he said there are chemicals in artificial turf. They include alcohols, acids, ketones, esters, lactones and sulfur among others.” “The meeting was recorded and is available for view online at www.mtlebanon.org, and on Mt.Lebanon’s cable channels 17 and 34.” Source:“Mt.Lebanon invites experts to talk turf,” in The Almanac, 16 June 2014, at http://www.thealmanac.net/article/20140616/NEWS/140619956 (pdf).
SynTurf.org Note: Where do the 6,000 and 7,000 pounds of crumb rubber migrate to? The environment; players’ clothes, eyes, mouth, stomach, shoes, cars; and the garbage can, and down the drain. Those that end up in the garbage can go to landfill that probably would not accept whole tires. Those that end up in the sewer end up in the municipal water and sewer treatment facilities. Now think of the same problem along the following lines: number of installed fields in the geographical region x 6,000-7,000 lbs of crumb rubber=y; y divided by number of average automobile tires that renders one pound ofcrumb rubber=z. Z is the number of tires that migrated off the field in one year.
[No. 33] Before using pulverized styrene butadiene, consider this. Kelley Watts of SFPARKS – SHPFC, San Francisco, California, recently fired a letter to the California Coastal Commission Staff, challenging the revised finding of the Commission’s 9 May 2013 approval of coastal permit with conditions to renovate existing Beach Chalet athletic fields in Golden Gate Park. Kelley’s area of concern is that the Revised Finding is not in conformance with the Local Coastal Program (LCP) in that it allows the project to introduce over 400 tons of loose uncovered toxic styrene butadiene particles into the coastal zone.
The following is an expert of that challenge whose substance, in our opinion should a standard wrap-sheet on crumb rubber for distribution to policymakers and members of the public when the question of artificial turf arises in our communities.
BASIS OF CONCERN
What is styrene butadiene? Styrene butadiene, (sometimes called styrene butadiene rubber or SBR) is derived from tires. You may have seen it in particulate form fly up when athletes play in it on a synthetic field or perhaps when shaken out of children's hair and clothes. Hundreds of under-regulated chemicals and metals constitute a tire, including lead, PAHs, and carbon black. Over 20% of a tire's chemical makeup is listed as causing cancer by the State of California's Office of Environmental and Health Hazard Assessment, OEHHA, based on the findings of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
How much styrene butadiene particulate material will be used in the project? According to the leading supplier of San Francisco's styrene butadiene synthetic fields, one single football sized installation contains over 35,000 pulverized tires. If you stacked 35,000 tires side by side as we commonly see them done attire dealers then the stack would reach 3.86 miles high, (or 16 Empire State buildings). The total amount of tire material used in the 7 acre Beach Chalet conversion project would create a stack well over 7 times more, (well over 25 miles high).
How exposed will the styrene butadiene particulates be to the coastal environment? Contrary to a common misconception, the styrene butadiene particles will not be covered by a plastic layer but will instead be on top of a plastic "carpet" sitting loose among the blades. The fact that one can hardly see the particles on a synthetic field illustrates how ultra-finely pulverized the tire particulates will be. The particles are barely visible on a plastic “carpet” with a 1.75 inch blade height. The particles' small size creates a migratory inevitability throughout the coastal zone environment.
The following YouTube video clips illustrate styrene butadiene environmental impacts: (1) A compilation of news clips and accounts with a Bay Area presence. It contains multiple San Francisco and Bay Area synthetic turf installations with styrene butadiene infill. “YouTube Synthetic Turf Particles – SFPARKS” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2USPTy_wVM ; (2) A compilation of statements from medical doctors, pediatricians, and toxicologists addressing the potential health risks of exposure from styrene butadiene to children and pregnant women. “YouTube Children & Synthetic Turf – SFPARKS” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3sg2BNlLfU
[No. 32] Study: Risk of ingesting lead increases as size of crumb rubber gets smaller. According to an analysis by scientists from the Institute for Environmental Research at YonseiUniversity and Department of Preventive Medicine at Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea, the exposure of lead ingestion and risk level increases as the particle size of crumb rubber gets smaller. The study looked at the ingestion exposure by particle sizes (more than 250 um or less than 250 um) of recycled ethylene propylene diene monomer crumb rubber that is used as infill in artificial turf. The analysis on crumb rubber was conducted using body ingestion exposure estimate method. Two methods using acid extraction and digestion extraction concentration were compared and evaluated.
As a result of the ingestion exposure of crumb rubber material, the average lead exposure amount to the digestion extraction result among crumb rubber was calculated to be 1.56×10-4 mg/kg-day for low grade elementary school students and 4.87×10-5 mg/kg-day for middle and high school students in 250 um or less particle size, and that to the acid extraction result was higher than the digestion extraction result. Results of digestion extraction and acid extraction showed that the hazard quotient was estimated by about over 2 times more in particle size of lower than 250 um than in higher than 250 um. There was a case of an elementary school student in which the hazard quotient exceeded 0.1.
The study is entitled Health Risk Assessment of Lead Ingestion Exposure by Particle Sizes in Crumb Rubber on Artificial Turf Considering Bioavailability by Sunduk Kim, Ji-Yeon Yang, Ho-Hyun Kim, In-Young Yeo, Dong-Chun Shin, and Young-Wook Lim. The study was published in Environmental Health and Toxicology 2012), published online 2 February 2012. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3278598/ .
[No. 31A] University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) research confirms existence of dangerous chemicals in crumb rubber and other used-tire products. This entry is an update of Item No. 31 below. Entitled “Hazardous organic chemicals in rubber recycled tire playgrounds and pavers” the study’s authors are Maria Llomparta, Lucia Sanchez-Pradoa, J. Pablo Lamasa, Carmen Garcia-Jaresa, Enrique Rocab and Thierry Dagnacc. This original paper from a multi-departmental investigators at the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, was published on 22 August 2012 on line http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2012.07.053 and made available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0045653512009848 It is now available also at http://www.elcorreodelsol.com/sites/default/files/chemosphere_maria_llompart.pdf and here.
The following are from the abstract and conclusion parts of the study:
Abstract. "In this study, the presence of hazardous organic chemicals in surfaces containing recycled rubber tires is investigated. Direct material analyses using solvent extraction, as well as SPME analysis of the vapour phase above the sample, were carried out. Twenty-one rubber mulch samples were collected from nine different playgrounds. In addition, seven commercial samples of recycled rubber pavers were acquired in a local store of a multinational company. All samples were extracted by ultrasound energy, followed by analysis of the extract by GC–MS. The analysis confirmed the presence of a large number of hazardous substances including PAHs, phthalates, antioxidants (e.g. BHT, phenols), benzothiazole and derivatives, among other chemicals. The study evidences the high content of toxic chemicals in these recycled materials. The concentration of PAHs in the commercial pavers was extremely high, reaching values up to 1%. In addition, SPME studies of the vapour phase above the samples confirm the volatilisation of many of those organic compounds. Uses of recycled rubber tires, especially those targeting play areas and other facilities for children, should be a matter of regulatory concern."
Conclusion. "In this study, a large number of samples collected in urban play-grounds as well as commercial rubber pavers have been analysed. The samples were solvent extracted and analysed by GC–MS. The presence of hazardous chemicals was confirmed in all of them. Initial screening experiments allowed selecting 31 target compounds including the 16 priority PAHs, vulcanisation additives, antioxidants, and plasticizers. All samples contained PAHs …The most abundant congener was PYR, followed by NAP, PHN, FLA, and CHY. The considered most toxic PAH, B[a]P was found in 5 samples. The analysis of commercial pavers (recycled rubber tire tiles) showed unexpected results with extremely high PAH levels….All the 16 priority PAHs were found in all the samples….Phthalate plasticizers were found in all samples and, in general, their individual and total concentrations were considerably higher in the commercial pavers. The most abundant congener was DEHP…. Other emerging pollutants such as BTZ and BHT were found in all samples. Many of the target analytes were detected in the SPME experiments. Regarding PAHs, all the compounds found in the playground samples were identified in the vapour phase at room temperature excluding the less volatile ones. In the case of the commercial pavers, five-ring PAHs were also detected, including the carcinogenic B[a]P. BTZ, as well as the priority phthalates DEP, DIBP, DBP, DEHP, and BHT, were found in all cases, demonstrating that all these chemicals reach the vapour phase and can enter the human organism by inhalation. The present study highlights the presence of a high number of harmful compounds, frequently at high or extremely high levels, in these recycled rubber materials. Therefore, they should be carefully controlled, and their final use should be restricted or even prohibited in some cases."
[No. 31] Spanish research confirms existence of dangerous chemicals in crumb rubber and other used-tire products. The study analyzed a large number of recycled tire playgrounds and commercial pavers. It confirmed the occurrence of numerous harmful compounds at high levels among thirty-one selected targets (PAHs, vulcanisation additives, antioxidants, plasticizers). It found that the total PAH concentration was remarkable. The study called attention to presence of B[a]P and noted that analytes were detected in the headspace SPME experiments at room temperature. The following is an abstract of Maria Llomparta, Lucia Sanchez-Pradoa, J. Pablo Lamasa, Carmen Garcia-Jaresa, Enrique Rocab and Thierry Dagnacc, “Hazardous organic chemicals in rubber recycled tire playgrounds and pavers,” an original paper from a multi-departmental investigators at the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, published on 22 August 2012 on line http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2012.07.053 and made available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0045653512009848 :
In this study, the presence of hazardous organic chemicals in surfaces containing recycled rubber tires is investigated. Direct material analyses using solvent extraction, as well as SPME analysis of the vapour phase above the sample, were carried out. Twenty-one rubber mulch samples were collected from nine different playgrounds. In addition, seven commercial samples of recycled rubber pavers were acquired in a local store of a multinational company. All samples were extracted by ultrasound energy, followed by analysis of the extract by GC–MS. The analysis confirmed the presence of a large number of hazardous substances including PAHs, phthalates, antioxidants (e.g. BHT, phenols), benzothiazole and derivatives, among other chemicals. The study evidences the high content of toxic chemicals in these recycled materials. The concentration of PAHs in the commercial pavers was extremely high, reaching values up to 1%. In addition, SPME studies of the vapour phase above the samples confirm the volatilisation of many of those organic compounds. Uses of recycled rubber tires, especially those targeting play areas and other facilities for children, should be a matter of regulatory concern.
[No. 30] Dr. David Brown, toxicologist, discusses crumb rubber in artificial turf fields. A video presentation, entitled: Artificial Turf: A troubling Perspective (September 2012) on Vimeo.com at https://vimeo.com/49518944 (from Amy Stephan). Dr. Brown is a public health toxicologist and serves as the Director of Public Health Toxicology at Environment and Human Health, Inc. (www.ehhi.org), a non-profit in North Haven, Connecticut.
[No. 29] Carbon black nanoparticle in crumb rubber raises further concern about artificial turf fields. In a press release,dated August 10, 2010, the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and ExperimentalMedicine, in Germany,announced that it is participating in a research alliance on the health risks of carbon black. According to the press release, “Carbon black is an industrial chemical that is manufactured in large quantities worldwide. It consists of smallest nanoparticles and is used, for example, in the manufacturing of automobile tires and other plastic materials. A health risk from carbon black nanoparticles (CBNP) can, as yet, not be ruled out, and the World Health Organization has classified these particles as possibly carcinogenic.” For a copy of the press release click here.
According to the press release, “The aim of the scientists in the carbon black research alliance is to eventually find modifications of carbon black nanoparticles that pose no hazard to human health and can thus be commercially exploited without risk.” Until that time however the users of artificial turf fields are condemned to breathing in the carbon black nanoparticles that are found in the crumb rubber made from used tires and any other such carbon black nanoparticles that may reside in the artificial truf field's plastic blades.
These concerns have been noted recently by Environment and Human Health, Inc. In an e-mail to SynTurf.org, EHHI posited the following:
Just now, understanding that carbon black nanoparticles are in rubber tires, asks the following questions about nanoparticles in rubber tire crumb infill and playground mulch used by children:
(1) How does the knowledge that carbon black nanoparticles are added to rubber tires affect the risk assessments done on synthetic turf and the rubber mulch used in toddlers' playgrounds?
(2) Because none of the risk assessments done up to the present time on rubber tire crumbs or playground mulch have taken into consideration the fact that carbon black nanoparticles have been added to rubber tires --how does this fact affect the claim by some states that rubber tire crumbs and rubber tire playground mulch are safe for children to play on?
(3)As children play on synthetic turf fields and playground mulch - dust develops. Are nanoparticles in the dust? If so, are they capable of being aspirated into the children's lungs?Who is researching this?Rubber tires are designed for cars and trucks - they were never designed for grinding up and putting where children play. How does this fact affect some states approvals for putting used rubber tires where children play?
(4) Could this be another example of a toxic material getting out into the environment without enough testing? Environment and Human Health, Inc. is simply asking these questions - which seem appropriate under the circumstances.
[No. 29] USA Today: New York City and Los AngelesUnifiedSchool District spurn crumb rubber in artificial turf. On June 10, 2009,USA Today carried a news story about New York City and Los AngelesUnifiedSchool District saying “no” to crumb rubber infill. Here is the opening line from the report:“Officials in the nation's two largest cities are not waiting out ongoing studies and debate about the safety of artificial turf fields that use crumbs of recycled tire rubber as a base. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the Los AngelesUnifiedSchool District have decided that any new artificial fields they purchase must use a different material as its base, or infill, layer.” Source: A.J. Perez, “Two cities spurn crumb rubber in artificial turf,” in USA TODAY,
SynTurf.org Note: While alternative infill may well catch on, the turf industry does its level best to discourage it scaring the potential buyer with cost escalations, possible impairment of warranty, absence of widespread performance data, and absence of test results to show their environmental and health benefit like crumb rubber has! SynTurf.org has learned that RiverdaleCountrySchool in Bronx, NY, has just contracted for an artificial turf field that will use an amalgam of coconut and cork for its infill. SynTurf.org has also learned that the same infill is being used in the “dead man zone” of the main stadium at BYU (Provo, Utah), which infill is claimed to be softer to the feet and some 30 degrees cooler than the crumb rubber that was previously used. In the U.S., this infill was first used in connection with a synthetic turf playground in 2008 at International School of Boston, in Cambridge (for the story, seehttp://www.synturf.org/industrynotes.html , Item No. 16)
What is at work in the case of NYC, LAUSD and a smattering of other places is the gradual acceptance of the Precautionary Principle when it comes to the planning and operation of synthetic turf fields, particularly the crumb rubber variety. The Precautionary Principles states: When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof. The process of applying the precautionary principle must be open, informed and democratic and must include potentially affected parties. It must also involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including no action.
[No. 28] What’s new is old news: Research professor warns about crumb rubber toxicity. The following is an item form Tire & Rubber Recycling Fax, a bulletin of the Tire Industry Association (TIA), vol. 2, no. 1 (January 13, 2003). Available on the Internet at http://www.tireindustry.org/newsarchives/recycling/recyclyingfax_jan03.asp , the piece reported on the work of one Alison Draper, a research professor at BucknellUniversity, Bucknell, Pennsylvania, who is currently at TrinityCollege in Hartford, CT.
TIA abstract (January 13, 2003):
Preliminary data from a new research study looking into the effects of tire-wear particles on the environment indicates the tire-wear particles may have a negative effect on plant and animal life in aquatic environments. Alison Draper, a research professor at BucknellUniversity, Bucknell, Pennsylvania, has learned that for every kilometer a car travels, about 90 milligrams of tread wears off in particles ranging from 10 microns or less to 75 microns. Draper launched the study with the hope of finding ways to make tires less polluting and to seek answers to the question of where the tread on a car tire goes when it wears off. While Draper has just begun to test the effects of the smallest particles, which remain airborne, her tests appear to show that a toxin or toxins in the larger particles leach out when exposed to water, harming both plant and animal life. Although she has not identified what is responsible for the harmful effects, she said it could be zinc oxide or any of the sulfur-containing agents used in making tires, according to a recent update on the research project.
College Campus News. The TIA abstract no doubt was inspired by the release of an Ascribe Newswire item carrying an item from The College Campus News, a Collegenews.org offering from the Annapolis Group, a nonprofit alliance of the nation’s leading independent liberal arts colleges. Reported from Lewisburg, Pa., on November 19, 2009, the AScribe Newswire’s piece was entitled report, entitled, What Happens to the Rubber That Wears Off a Car's Tires? Bucknell University Chemistry Professor Investigates Environmental, Health Impacts of Tire Wear Particles, available at http://www.collegenews.org/x1939.xml(or click here).
LEWISBURG, Pa., Nov. 19 (AScribe Newswire) -- Alison J. Draper, an assistant professor of chemistry at BucknellUniversity, Lewisburg, Pa., is doing research where the rubber meets the road - literally.
She’s investigating the environmental and health impacts of automobile tire wear particles. As automobile tires move along a road, tiny particles are worn off, and can end up in the air and in nearby waterways. Draper previously did research on diesel exhaust, but says that tire rubber is “much more interesting chemically,” containing heavy metals like zinc and cadmium, hydrocarbons, latex, and sulfur-containing compounds.
Draper's research is not yet complete. But so far her findings include preliminary but solid evidence that tire wear particles may have negative impacts on small organisms in water habitats. Airborne tire particles may also aggravate respiratory problems in human beings (such as asthma or allergies).
Draper’s method has been to make up clean samples of water like those inhabited by several kinds of aquatic organisms - algae, duckweed, daphnia (water fleas), fathead minnows, and snails - and under controlled laboratory conditions, put finely ground tire particles into the samples. By letting the particles remain in the water for 10 days and then filtering them out, she created a “leachate” that included substances in the tire rubber. All the organisms exposed to the leachate died, and the algae died fairly quickly.
Draper is also working on determining the levels of tire rubber chemicals in water that cause sub-lethal effects, such as reproductive problems in the snails and pre-cancerous lesions in the minnows. Draper's work so far has been performed in a lab, under controlled conditions, but she says there’s “good evidence” that tire rubber may have similar effects on similar organisms living in real waterways along real roadways.
An environmental chemist with a doctorate in toxicology (University of Kansas Medical Center, 1996), Draper is also the Clare Boothe Luce Professor of Environmental Chemistry at Bucknell. She says there’s good evidence from the chemistry of tire rubber that it also has the potential to cause asthmatic and/or allergic-type reactions. “We’re only at the very beginning of that investigation. But, given the chemicals in tire rubber and given how readily they leach out, we can expect a respiratory response [in human beings],” she says. “It depends on the levels of the chemicals and the level of exposure - certain people will be more susceptible than others.”
Draper’s research started humbly, with an old tire that came from her father,s 1981 Chevrolet Malibu and was already on the refuse heap. "My father was about to throw it out,” Draper recalls, “and I said, ‘Wait!’” Now she uses tire tread particles supplied by a company in Mississippi, already ground up, and consisting of mixed tire brands.
[No. 27] New York City: Out with the crumb rubber! According to a news report in the Daily News (February 10, 2009), “The controversial material made from recycled tires will no longer be used in synthetic-turf fields for parks and schools, officials said yesterday. While insisting crumb rubber isn't toxic, the officials said they stopped using it because it overheats on hot days and could pose a health risk.” First Deputy Parks Commissioner Liam Kavanagh told a City Council panel [on February 9, 2009] that the City will replace the crumb in all city fields “as part of the normal 10-year renovation cycle.” “Activists and some legislators, however, have called the fields potentially toxic and demanded removal.” “The Council hearing was on several bills to control synthetic fields, including one to impose a six-month moratorium on building new synthetic-turf fields of any kind. The bill's main sponsor, City Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Queens), urged the city to remove all of the controversial material.” “You've got to make sure that you can guarantee every parent in New York City that when their kids are playing on a field, that it is 100 percent safe. If you can't make that guarantee, you’ve got to close that field. It's not a matter of dollars and cents, it's a matter of children’s health,” said Gioia. With the exception of the field at ThomasJeffersonPark, which had tested for high levels of lead, “Department officials say other fields have trace levels of lead, but not enough to cause any harm.” For more on the story, please go to Frank Lombardi, “City yields ground on crumb rubber in turf wars,” in Daily News, February 9, 2009, available at http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2009/02/09/2009-02-09_city_yields_ground_on_crumb_rubber_in_tu.html ; and NY1 (TV) News, “City Holds Hearing On Synthetic Turf,” http://www.ny1.com/content/top_stories/93623/city-holds-hearing-on-synthetic-turf/Default.aspx
Int 739 - By Council Members Baez, James, Gioia, Mark-Viverito, Gonzalez, Palma and Arroyo - A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to prohibiting the use of certain synthetic turf on surfaces used for recreational purposes.
Int 896 - By Council Members de Blasio, Lappin, Barron, Brewer, Gerson, Gonzalez and James - A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to requiring signage warning of heat dangers of playground mats.
Int 918 - By Council Member Stewart - A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to the surface areas of playgrounds and playing fields.
Res 1782 - By Council Member Mark-Viverito - Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to amend Section 399-dd of the General Business Law to allow municipalities to enact local laws regarding playground equipment and the Department of Parks and Recreation to require a temperature test for all equipment installed in parks and playgrounds, including safety surfacing, and to prohibit such materials from being installed that pose a health or burn danger to exposed skin.
[No. 26] NYC says goodbye to crumb rubber infill. SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. July 6, 2008. Chalk up one for the Herculean effort of the NY Public Advocate Bestsy Gotbaum and a grassroots organization called NYC Park Advocates. By their relentless effort to inform the public and officials of hazards of artificial turf, the NYC Parks Department has decided to discontinue artificial turf fields that use crumb rubber infill. The NY’s first deputy parks commissioner, Liam Kavanagh, has told The Daily News, “the city plans to stop using the crumb-rubber infill because of excessive heat and switch over to a carpet-style turf.” But the paper also reported that it has measured temperatures of 160 degrees Fahrenheit at Macombs Dam Park in the Bronx, which is already a carpet-style turf.
[No. 25]Synthetic Fields: A Question of Ingestion. A video presentation (June 14, 2008). The following link will take you to a YouTube video clip on dynamics of crumb rubber: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zsodulEmz0. The field featured in the video was installed by San Francisco City Field Foundation.
[No. 23] Dr. David Brown, Are Artificial Turf Field Safe? A video-presentation. February 19, 2008. Introduced by Bob McCarthy: Many communities have installed, or considering installing, synthetic turf on athletic fields. Health and environmental questions are being raised about the ground-up used tire "crumbs" used on this turf. Last year, Environment and Human Health, Inc. (EHHI), released an independent report to place health and environmental exposures to recycled tire crumbs in a scientifically based context. David Brown, Sc.D., EHHI's public health toxicologist, prepared the report, which he discussed recently at a meeting in Ridgefield, Connecticut. His presentation was videotaped and is offered here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-876904962403716413&q=synthetic+turf&total=189&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=7.
[No. 22]Trust for Public Land Gets Religion, Says “No” to Crumb Rubber.SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. February 21, 2008. The Trust for Public Land (TPL) (http://www.tpl.org)holds itself out as “a land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come.”
http://www.tpl.org/tier2_sa.cfm?folder_id=170. Imagine the horror, this organization has been in the forefront of the recent wave of senseless proliferation of artificial turf fields around New York City, with no less than 18 crumb rubber infilled turf fields already in place and seven more in the works. These installations are part of a $25 million project to improve city school playgrounds.
In a news story reported by Adam Lisberg of the Daily News, it looks like the public furor over artificial turf fields has finally gotten the TPL’s attention. The Senior Public affairs Associate for TPL’s mid-Atlantic region, Troy Farmer, told Daily News that TPL “will switch to a different turf at the next seven it builds.” "We're moving away from the crumb rubber," he told Lisberg."There's really no firm evidence that there's anything to be frightened of, but as long as people are concerned, better safe than sorry," he said.
Now, only if the New York City officials, particularly the elected ones, could act in a semi-enlightened way like TPL! It cannot be that a program that is supposed to promote wellness should cushion itself on tens of thousands of tons of tiny bits of free-floating recycled tires or thermoplastic grains, each with its own environmental and health risks.
As Geoffrey Croft of NYC Park Advocates told Daily News, there are millions of these granules that are flying up in people's faces, people are eating them, and they wind up in the wash.
The irony: This infestation of NYC’s urban playgrounds with artificial turf and crumb rubber is going on in the name of serving the underprivileged and urban youth, who, unlike the children of the well-to-do, do not get to go to the bucolic surroundings in the tri-State area or up-State, to camps where they can enjoy nature and natural grass playing fields. They are sentenced to play on fake grass, among whose features is a surface temperature that runs 30 to 40 degrees hotter than natural grass, that is hotter than asphalt, on a typical sunny summer day in the city.
[No. 21] Who’s On First? New York backpedals on infill directive! SynTurf.org, Newton Mass. January 25, 2008.Just as you thought it was gone become safe once again for kids to play on artificial turf, out comes Frau Freitag (nicknamed “Friday”) and pulls the rug literally right from under the Specifications Department’s January 14, 2008, directive to suspend the use of rubber infill. See Item No. 20 below.
The Directive had been an internal memorandum. A copy of it apparently ended up in the hands of the NYC Park Advocates and on January 22, 2008, the Advocates spilled the contents of the memorandum to the public in a press release. No sooner than the press picked up on this and NYC Park Advocates’ bravado for bringing about the change, the Parks & Recreation Department went into spin control. The Deputy Commissioner of Capital Projects AmyFreitag put out a statement saying, “There is no change in the Parks Department's policy on synthetic turf and in the internal memorandum, I incorrectly made a blanket statement. As technology evolves, we are replacing a single standard and exploring the use of a carpet-style turf, particularly for asphalt conversions.” “The directive was meant to apply only to the conversion of asphalt to synthetic turf fields where a carpet-style turf may be more appropriate,” she continued. “In building sports fields,” she said, “we will continue to explore all appropriate technologies, including natural fields.” “There is no public health danger at any of these fields. On public safety, Parks is working with the Department of Health, which is conducting a study examining the health and safety risks and benefits of synthetic turf fields” Freitag assured the public.
The fact of the matter is that since 2002 Gotham has installed more than 77 artificial turf fields and has some 23 more on the drawing board. Contrary to Freitag’s statement, exactly when and where has the Parks and Recreation Department explored natural grass fields in the recent year? One must also question Freitag’s sincerity in assuring the public of the safety of artificial turf fields when, by her own admission, the Health Department is conducting a study examining the health and safety risks and benefits of synthetic turf fields. According to NYC Park Advocates’ January 22 press release, the City already has installed over 30,000,000 pounds (30 million) of the petroleum- and chemical-laced products in city parks over the last nine years. The city is currently installing millions of additional pounds.”
So, what possessed the Specifications Department to issue the Directive in the first place? According to Patrick Arden of New York City Metro, one of the co-authors of the Directive, Ms. Celia Petersen, the head of specifications, had received on July 6, 2006, a data sheet from Forever Green, a turf manufacturer, which stated “This product contains petroleum oils similar to ones categorized ... as causing skin cancer in mice after prolonged and repeated contact. Any potential hazard can be minimized by using ... protective equipment to avoid skin contact and by washing thoroughly.”Patrick Arden, “City asks for a mulligan on its toxic turf ban,” in New York City Metro, January 23, 2008, available at http://ny.metro.us/metro/local/article/City_asks_for_a_mulligan_on_its_new_toxic_turf_ban/11536.html. According to Arden “A variation on this last recommendation is now on the Health Dept.’s Web site: ‘As with any outdoor activity, it is recommended that after using the fields, people wash their hands before eating or drinking.’”
Obviously, as Arden also reported,Petersen’s directive to suspend rubber infill was a legitimate and precautionary response to increasing health concerns over the use of rubber granules from used tires. Perhaps the suspension of the infill would have been viewed as an admission of wrongdoing. Or perhaps the City now feared that it would have to vacuum out the rubber infill or worse yet replace the turf fields with a safe product? The bureaucratic consternation was strong enough to force an about-face on the part of the City.
Last December, 2007,Freitag received the Parks’ Twelfth Annual Award. Exactly how does a native of Akron, Ohio, with a BA from Smith College in Theatre and American Studies, and two Masters degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in Landscape Architecture and Historic Preservation end up endorsing artificial turf fields? Everything about Freitag’s biography would suggest a personality given to preservation of natural fields instead of mindless proliferation of turf and then even more mindless defense of them. Freitag’s biography is available at Parks and Recreation Department’sThe Daily Planet, vol. xvii, no. 3521, January 3, 2008, at http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_newsroom/daily_plants/daily_plant_main.php?id=12510. She is regarded as “an outstanding administrator and role model,” who “is modernizing our preservation efforts while keeping our historic sites intact!” Moreover she is “an animal lover, gardener, and chef,” and “a rising star in the Parks world.” Maybe not.
[No. 20] New York City: Rubberinfill is out!SynTurf.org, Newton, Mass. January 25, 2005. On January 14, 2008, the New York City Parks & Recreation Department suspended the use of rubber infill synthetic turf in all parks capital projects. The internal memorandum prepared by Charles Rudesill and Celia Petersen and issued under the authority of Deputy Commissioner of Capital Projects Amy Freitag, the Design Directive 2008-1 (Synthetic Turf Fields) stated “Effective immediately, please discontinue use of Parks standard specification ‘Synthetic Turf-Infill Type’ and delete the words ‘infill material’ from detail 5 on standard detail sheet 40.” “Non-infill specifications for synthetic turf fields are available from our Specifications Department,” the Directive stated. A copy of the Directive was obtained by New York Park Advocates and it has been the subject of several news articles in recent days. For news article on this story, see Timothy Williams, “City Park officials Seek safety Review of Synthetic Surfaces,” in The New York Times, January 23, 2008, availablehttp://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/23/nyregion/23turf.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion&oref=slogin; Patrick Arden, “City asks for a mulligan on its toxic turf ban,” in New York City Metro, January 23, 2008, available at http://ny.metro.us/metro/local/article/City_asks_for_a_mulligan_on_its_new_toxic_turf_ban/11536.html. Click here for a copy of the Directive.
No. 19] Concern over synthetic turf is not going away! [Editor's Note] The Westport Brief on this site (see WrapUpArtcile, No. 2) chronicled the epic struggle of a number of Westport moms and public health experts to get answers about the health and safety issues associated with artificial turf fields. The story of Patricia Taylor and her son, Liam, was recently the human-interest hook for a health news story published on October 28, 2007, in The New York Times:
"Liam would come home with the tiny [rubber crumb] particles in his cleats, in his clothes and in his hair... 'Kids are tracking it back home, into washers and dryers, on the rugs and in their tubs. It's not just staying on the field. It's migrating.'... [Because of health and environmental implications of rubber crumb] Liam Taylor and his mother are proceeding with caution. This year, he is on the soccer team at the Hopkins School in New Haven, which does not have a synthetic turf field, and his mother refuses to let him play at any school that does have one. 'My job is to protect my son,' she said. 'Now that there is evidence of out-gassing, he will not be exposed until the fields are proven safe.'" Read more of this story by Jeff Holz, "Parents Raising Concerns Over Synthetic Turf," The New York Times, October 28, 2007, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/28/nyregion/nyregionspecial2/28turfwe.html?_r=1&oref=slogin. The story features also statements by physicians and public health experts, and calls for more study, caution and moratorium.
Text: http://www.news12.com/LI/topstories/article?id=201493#%22. PORT WASHINGTON - The use of artificial turf fields at Long Island schools is growing, yet the jury is still out on whether they put children at risk. Synthetic turf fields, like the 150 Landtech has sold to schools on the Island, are made with rubber from recycled tires. Grassroots Environmental Education's Doug Wood and other experts claim the used tires contain toxic metals and carcinogenic chemicals, and therefore so do the fields. "Tires are so full of toxic chemicals they have to be disposed of in a special landfill," Wood said. "So why would you grind them up and put them on a field where kids are going to play?" Ken Marlborough, athletic director for Port Washington schools, said Landtech assured him the artificial turf it installed was safe. Marlborough said the appeal of the $750,000 surface is its convenience. "The real benefit I think is that [it] is truly an all-weather surface," he said. "Even in a heavy downpour with[in] a matter of minutes, the field drains and can be ready to play on almost immediately." Landtech, which declined to speak on camera, said through a spokesperson that studies show the tire crumbs are not harmful. News 12 Long Island decided to test the claims, taking a sample from the Port Washington field for lab studies. The content levels of heavy metals were within government limits. However, some cancer-causing chemicals were well in excess of state safety levels. Chrysene, for one, was present in amounts more than 1,250 times the safe limits. Dr. David Carpenter, of Environmental Health and Toxicology, said the state Department of Health should impose a moratorium on the installation of artificial turf fields until enough research proves they are safe. A prominent New York toxicologist is conducting a study and promises to release her results in the near future.
WESTPORT - A expert on the environment and children's health told a small crowd at the Westport Public Library last night that parents should be wary of synthetic turf athletic fields, and he agreed that cities and towns should not rush to install the fields, which are made in part from recycled tires, until the health risks are determined. Dr. Philip Landrigan, who heads the department of community and preventative medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, spoke about exposure to chemicals such as pesticides, lead and mercury, and how they affect children's' health....After recently reviewing a report from New Haven-based Environment and Human Health Inc., Landrigan said he agrees that the shredded tires and the affect on children's health should be studied further... The study found that under laboratory conditions the tire fragments released at least four dangerous compounds, including one recognized carcinogen, under slightly elevated temperatures. The compounds can irritate eyes, skin and mucous membranes. The rubber also was found to leach heavy metals into water...The organization has asked for a moratorium on the further installation of the synthetic turf fields until more research is done... "What we don't know at this point is to what extent do these toxic chemicals . . . get into kids' bodies," Landrigan said. He noted a study being conducted by Rutgers University utilizing a robot that will move around the fields and take air samples about a foot above the surface to measure the amount of chemical exposure. He said it also would be a good idea to work with groups of parents and obtain urine samples of children who use the fields, to see if chemicals are passing through their bodies. Landrigan also focused on the increasing incidence of asthma, childhood cancers and developmental disorders, such as autism. He said there are chemicals that haven't been tested for their possible toxicity, and children are more susceptible to exposure because they drink more water and often transfer substances to their mouths. Children also are still developing and they take longer to rid their bodies of chemicals, he said."We are conducting in our society a vast toxicological experiment," Landrigan said. There is evidence for environmental causes of developmental disorders, including lead, methyl mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, Landrigan said. He advised people to eat organic foods as much as possible, be informed about neighbors' pesticide use and encourage the use of "green" materials in schools. A multiyear study to examine the influence of environmental factors in children's' health and development is under way, Landrigan said. The National Children's Study, led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency, will follow 100,000 children from before birth to at least 18 years of age. "We believe it's our generation's best hope of detecting preventable diseases," Landrigan said. Nancy Alderman, president of Environment and Human Health, said last night that she was pleased Landrigan addressed the synthetic turf issue.One mother who attended the talk said she hadn't known about the concerns about synthetic turf, and that they surprised her. A field was recently installed behind Saugatuck Elementary School. "I had no idea that the turf was so dangerous and a concern," said Joan McCullough, who has a 4-year-old daughter. "It's made me more aware of what my daughter can be exposed to."
No. 16] Editor’s Note: In the news article about the health risks of artificial turf fields in Italy (below), reference is made to a substance called toluene. The article also refers to the European Union’s ban on PAHs in tire manufacturing beginning in 2007. In connection with these issues relating to rubber crumb, the readers may find of interest the following documents:
On tyre manufacture (UNEP/Basel Convention) [http://www.basel.int/meetings/oewg/oewg6/docs/oewg6_inf06.pdf]
On the EU’s registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals program (REACH) [http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/06/st15/st15315.en06.pdf] and regulation thereof [http://reach.jrc.it/docs/Reach_legal_text_en.pdf] and corrigenda [http://www.lifesciences.at/download.asp?id=1556]
On UK’s implementation legislation of the REACH [http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/em2006/uksiem_20063311_en.pdf].
On call/report by Sweden’s KemI to ban the use of HA oils in tyre manufacture [http://kemi.se/upload/Trycksaker/Pdf/Rapporter/Rapport5_03.pdf] and press release [http://www.kemi.se/upload/Medier/Pressmeddelanden/2003/HA_press_release030327.pdf]
On restrictions on the use of toluene (EU) [http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/oj/2006/l_033/l_03320060204en00280081.pdf]
No. 15] Italy: Synthetic turf fields will be cleaned up!
Corrado Zunino, Erba sintetica, allarme confermato “Quei campi vanno bonificati,” in La Repubblica, May 3, 2006 – reproduced in its entirety below and also available at http://www.repubblica.it/2006/04/sezioni/cronaca/campi-sintetitici-cancerogeni/conferma-rischi-cancro/conferma-rischi-cancro.html. [Translated for synturf.org in part by Elio Branca]. The former Italian minister of Health, Francesco Storace’s last act in office was to make public on May 2, 2006, the study of a commission that he had set up in order to examine the potential risks associated with use of rubber in artificial turf fields. According to the study, the synthetic turf fields in Italy are potentially cancer-causing. The study found levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), toluene (volatile toxic compound), and heavy metals to be higher than the legal limits. The PAHs pose risks to kidneys, liver, and lungs. According to the investigators at the High Institute of Health (Instituto superiore di Sanita), the inhalation of the dust from these substances pose a risk to soccer players. The commission, which also included physicians and lawyers from the ministry of the Environment, urged the adoption of a law to clean up the dangerous fields.According to Professor Roberto Verna, the president of the commission, “It is clear that PAHs and toluene are a danger to health.” “We do not want to spread fear, but it is necessary to find a way to clean up the playing fields,” he said. “Let us say, all of the fields in Italy need to be examined, the 350 official ones and the dozens that have been installed without governmental approval,” he said. Accroding to Verna, the inspiration for defining the danger of artificial turf fields comes from the law about greens paces and parklands. The study document will be sent to FIFA, the world governing body for soccer, and to the European Union: the European Union already has prohibited the production of rubber with PAHs after 2007. “This study is the first such work in Europe that has been undertaken by an independent commission,” said Varna. "The rubber in the fields,” he said, “must be treated like dairy products: we must know about the origin of the rubber, the process and how its is made into its final form – to get a seal of approval/label of quality.”According to Carlo Tavecchio, president of national league of amateurs (Lega nazionale dilettanti), “we have to open up 200 fields and take out/vacuum the noxious substances. The cost will be divided among the Federal soccer organization, the producers of the turf and management of the clubs.” This will be a titanic undertaking. Each full-size soccer field (11 v. 11) contains 130 tons of infill and costs between 300,000 to 650,000 Euros. On the heel of the discovery of toxicity of the artificial turf fields, a pitched industrial battle is brewing between the producers of virgin rubber and recycled rubber, the big versus small. There is Olimpico that makes a product that is a mix of artificial grass and natural grass and does not need rubber. Then there are firms that manufacture foundations/underlay for artificial turf fields out of cork. The commission noticed a great number of children’s playgrounds are on rubber surfaces that are produced by the sane firms that manufacture the rubber for artificial turf fields. The SBR rubber is considered risky. According to Giovanni Lolli, undersecretary of Sports, “This is a serious problem. The commission has done diligent work: the next administration should reconvene the commission.”
Resi noti i risultati della commissione creata dall'ex ministro Storace. I tecnici del ministero della Salute rilanciano il rischio cancro. Erba sintetica, allarme confermato "Quei campi vanno bonificati," di CORRADO ZUNINO ROMA - L'ultimo atto del ministero della Salute uscente certifica l'allarme: i campi in erba sintetica costruiti in Italia sono potenzialmente cancerogeni. La commissione istituita da Francesco Storace, poi costretto a lasciare la guida del ministero, ieri mattina ha discusso in maniera accesa un paio d'ore e poi ha deciso - all'unanimità - di lasciare un documento-avvertimento al prossimo ministro della Sanità. In quel ponderoso lascito si dicono quattro cose decisamente serie. Nell'intaso di gomma che sostiene il manto d'erba artificiale, primo, ci sono quantità pericolose, in alcuni casi picchi elevati e comunque sempre oltre la soglia stabilita per legge, di Ipa (idrocarburi policiclici aromatici dannosi per reni, fegato e polmoni), toluene (composto volatile altamente tossico) e metalli pesanti. Quindi, seconda informazione, si stanno chiudendo gli studi su come questi elementi possano essere inalati dai calciatori in attività sui campi e le prime indicazioni dei ricercatori dell'Istituto superiore di Sanità preoccupano: le polveri che si sollevano giocando a pallone sono rischiose.
Terzo, sulle basi di queste scoperte scientifiche si deve realizzare una legge sui campi in erba artificiale, oggi inesistente. Infine, medici, avvocati del ministero dell'Ambiente e colonnelli dei Nas - tutti componenti della commissione - consigliano al prossimo ministro di emettere un'ordinanza per la bonifica dei campi pericolosi.Il professor Roberto Verna, ordinario di Patologia clinica della Sapienza di Roma, presidente della commissione, dice: "Ipa e toluene sono pericolose per la salute, questo è acclarato. I Nas hanno prelevato campioni di gomma in tredici campi: tutte le aziende e tutti i tipi di intasi hanno mostrato problemi. Non vogliamo seminare paure, ma è necessario trovare un modo per bonificare i terreni di gioco. Diciamo che tutti i campi italiani devono essere controllati, i 350 ufficiali e le decine di abusivi. Il metodo di controllo dovrà essere unico". Per definire i campi pericolosi il gruppo di lavoro si è ispirato alla normativa sul verde pubblico e alle tabelle dei parchi. Questo documento sarà inviato alla Fifa, l'organizzazione mondiale del calcio, e all'Unione europea, che già ha vietato la produzione di gomme con idrocarburi aromatici a partire dal 2007. "È il primo lavoro realizzato in Europa da una commissione indipendente. Le gomme, oggi, devono essere trattate come si fa con le mucche: dobbiamo sapere dove si raccoglie la materia prima, come si lavora, come arriva il prodotto finito. Ci vuole un'etichetta del prodotto". Il presidente della Lega nazionale dilettanti, Carlo Tavecchio, gestore discusso del grande affare campi artificiali, ha già parlato di rottamazione. "Dovremo aprire almeno duecento terreni e aspirare le sostanze nocive. Ripartiremo i costi tra Federcalcio, produttori dei campi e gestori". L'impresa è titanica: ogni campo a undici ha 130 tonnellate di intaso e costa tra i 300 e i 650 mila euro. Le aziende medio-piccole sono in grave difficoltà: "Abbiamo fatto forti investimenti quando i regolamenti erano provvisori e oggi i comuni interrompono i pagamenti e le banche ci chiedono di restituire i prestiti concessi". Intorno alla scoperta della tossicità dei campi è in corso, infatti, una dura battaglia industriale: produttori di gomma vergine contro riciclatori, grandi contro piccoli. In queste ore si sono fatti avanti, per esempio, i gestori del prato dell'Olimpico "realizzato con un prodotto misto di erbe naturali e artificiali che non ha bisogno di sottofondo" e alcune aziende che hanno messo a brevetto campi con fondi in sughero. La commissione del ministero della Salute ha scoperto, ancora, che una buon parte dei "parchi gioco" del territorio - le aree con scivoli e giostre presenti nelle piazze italiane - poggia su tappetini in gomma prodotti dalle stesse aziende che forniscono i campi in erba artificiale e realizzati con le stesse gomme riciclate: l'Sbr considerato a rischio. Giovanni Lolli, candidato sottosegretario allo Sport, dice: "Il problema è serio, questa commissione ha lavorato con serietà, il prossimo governo dovrà reinsediarla". (3 maggio 2006)
No. 14] Recyclers Used to Burning Rubber Are Now Idling, by Cindy Skrzycki, Washingtonpost.com, September 18, 2007 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/17/AR2007091701879.html [SynTurf.org Editor's Note: No sooner than you had bought the claim of turf sellers that old and out artificial turf carpet can be disposed off as fuel, here comes this item.This item covers a court-mandated change in a deacde-old EPA policy that allowed old tires to be burned as "alternative fuel."The rise of in-filled synthetic turf field industry came about a the same time as that policy, which made little of environmental and health hazard of used tires. As long as used tires were being "recycled" out of municipal disposal centers due to their hazardous nature and volume, EPA cared not!]
Text of article -- A new industry that recycles old tires into fuel, saving companies millions of dollars and reducing a billion-tire national stockpile, is in limbo after a U.S. appeals court tossed out some federal clean-air rules.In the past decade, owners of industrial boilers considered themselves do-gooders because they had the Environmental Protection Agency's blessing to burn alternative fuels, including old tires. Yet environmental groups said the practice dodged clean-air requirements by classifying incinerators as boilers, which have less stringent emission rules. On June 8, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia agreed, heading off a new EPA rule that was to go into effect last week and forcing the agency to come up with a new definition of "solid waste." "Tires will become a pariah if they are classified as a solid waste," said Michael Blumenthal, senior technical director for the Rubber Manufacturers Association in the District, which represents major tire manufacturers. He said the impact of the ruling would be "monumental." Michael Sorcher, president of M.A. Associates, a marketer of tire-derived fuel based in Overland Park, Kan., said the new industry has been thriving. It saves more than $100 million a year for such customers as International Paper of Memphis, and Holcim of Jona, Switzerland, the world's second-largest cement maker, he said. "This regulatory change doesn't just affect end users but the whole industry structure," Sorcher said, referring to makers of crumb rubber and other forms of recycled tire rubber. "It would be devastating for the industry in general." The court said facilities burning tires, wood, bark and other industrial wastes had been improperly classified by the EPA. The agency allowed facilities that "recovered energy" to be designated as boilers instead of following language in the Clean Air Act designating units that burn any solid waste as incinerators. "Had Congress intended to exempt all units that combust waste for the purpose of recovering thermal energy, it could likewise have expressly provided for their exemption in the statute," the ruling said. Robert Wayland, leader of the EPA's Energy Strategies Group in the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, said the agency wanted to encourage the use of alternative energy sources, including tire-derived fuel. "We thought we had the purview to include these," Wayland said. Cement kilns are the biggest users of tire-derived fuel, burning as many as 60 million tires a year, said Michel Benoit, executive director for the Cement Kiln Recycling Coalition in the District. The last thing his members want, Benoit said, "is another rule and charting into some unknown territory" that would make replacing coal with tires uneconomical. "Nobody has been ruled in or out at this point," said the EPA's Wayland, adding it will take at least two years to propose and complete a new rule that defines fuel and waste. Jockeying over the new proposal has already begun. The Rubber Manufacturers Association told the EPA on June 25 that it should modify any new rules to exempt tires from its definition of solid waste. The growth of markets for tire-derived fuel was nurtured by the EPA in the past 20 years to solve another environmental problem -- the billion-tire stockpile was a fire and disease risk. Environmentalists were unsympathetic to the plight of tire recyclers and their customers. "If they burn tires, they have to meet emission standards," said James Pew, staff attorney with Earthjustice, a District environmental law firm that argued the case with the Natural Resources Defense Council, a nonprofit group. "It's not our goal to crack down on them, just to get a better environmental result." The biggest users of tire-derived fuel said they will have to calculate the energy savings against the higher costs of being reclassified as an incinerator. "If it's 10 percent of the fuel they use and it's millions of dollars for more controls, mills will say it's just easier to switch fuels," said Timothy Hunt, senior director for air-quality programs at the District-based American Forest and Paper Association, which represents pulp, paper and wood mills that use biomass and tires as fuel. "Every paper mill will face that decision." He said that though states may step in with interim controls, facilities don't have a rule to comply with until the EPA comes up with a new standard. Whatever the outcome, at least one company thinks the decision will encourage a different form of recycling tires: freezing and then pulverizing them into powder that can be use in paint, tile, decking, automotive parts -- and new tires. Lehigh Technologies, a private company in Naples, Fla., uses about 7 million tires annually. One official there says the growth potential for its process is immense and doesn't have environmental consequences. "We're interested in converting the rubber into more beneficial uses," said Patrick George, Lehigh's chief financial officer. "We're just trying to figure out how this affects our business." Cindy Skrzycki is a regulatory columnist for Bloomberg News. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
No. 13] Divers removing failed tire reef project, by Brian Sokoloff., Associated Press Writer (Fri Jun 8, 9:15 AM ET). Fort Lauderdale, Florida -- It took only days to create what was touted as the world's largest artificial reef in 1972, when a well-intentioned group dumped hundreds of thousands of old tires into the ocean. Now divers expect to spend years hauling them to the surface. The tires turned out to be a reef killer, turning a swath of ocean floor the size of 31 football fields into a dead zone. Military crews began retrieving the tires this week from about 70 feet underwater, where they had broken loose from bundles and wedged along a natural reef. As of Thursday, they had pulled up about 1,600 of the estimated 700,000 tires that must be hauled to the surface. The tires are "a constantly killing coral-destruction machine," said William Nuckols, who is coordinating the cleanup. "They had to come up." The dumping of nearly 2 million tires began in 1972 with much fanfare by a group called Broward Artificial Reef Inc., which had the approval of the Army Corps of Engineers, support from Goodyear and help from hordes of volunteer boaters.
The rubber crumb is toxic. There is little doubt about it. What toxicological studies on rubber crumb measure is the health hazard of rubber crumb to humans and other living things. Toxicity of rubber crumb already has been shown in aquatic life. This conclusion was reached in 2003 Canadian study titled “Toxicological Evaluation for the Hazard Assessment of Tire Crumb for Use in Public Playgrounds,” by Detlef A. Birkholz, Kathy L. Belton and Tee L. Guidotti, and published in the Journal of Air & Waste Management Association, vol. 53: 903-907 (July 2003). The sellers of artificial turf often cite this study as proof that rubber crumb does not pose a health hazard to humans. Tthe researchers Birkholz, Belton and Guidotti designed a hazard assessment study to evaluate the potential human health and environmental concerns associated with the use of tire crumb in playgrounds. The human health concerns were addressed using conventional hazard analyses, mutagenicity assays, and aquatic toxicity tests of extracted tire crumb. They concluded that the hazard to children appeared to be minimal. However, toxicity to all aquatic organisms (bacteria, invertebrates, fish, and green algae) was observed; but the toxicity disappeared with aging of the tire crumb for three months in place in the playground. The study concluded, "the use of tire crumb in playgrounds results in minimal hazard to children and the receiving environment." For the abstract of the study go to http://secure.awma.org/journal/ShowAbstract.asp?Year=2003&PaperID=1089. For the full version of the study in PDF click here. The assurance of "minimal hazard" to humans does not mean absence of toxicity. As to humans and other air and land animals, the question of harm depends on the form, amount, concentration, and duration of exposure to the harmful substances in rubber crumb and its leachate. There was a time when DDT, asbestos, Agent Orange, smoking cigarette, second-hand smoke and transfats were all accepted and acceptable. In the City of Newton, Massachusetts, the public schools are latex-free environment.Yet, it is perfectly okay that Newton children and youth should wallow in polypropylene and plastic fibers and rubber crumb of an artificial turf field or tire crumb dust from rubberized playgrounds! One of the glaring omissions from toxicological studies of rubber crumb is reference to the adhesion of rubber crumb and synthetic fibers to the herbicide, fungicide, algaecide, and pesticides that are used in the maintenance of artificial turf fields. One should be concerned about the health hazards of rubber crumb also as a delivery mechanism for the residue of the toxins that are used to treat the fields.
Loose and plenty
No. 11] Rubber Infill. A typical multipurpose “new-generation” synthetic field contains a mix of some 10 tons of rubber crumb (granule infill) and 3 tons of sand.. The rubber crumb-and-sand mix is applied to the surface of the field and it is in the form of loose granule not larger than a small mouse dropping. The crumb and sand move about – laterally and vertically. Upon impact from a dropping body, slid or kick, the crumb and sand fly off in a puff-like dust. In most synthetic turf fields, the rubber crumb that has moved or washed off the field can be scooped up by the handful. The periodic treatment of the infill is therefore a crucial part of a well-maintained synthetic turf field. The thumbnails below depict the cross-sectional layout of a variety of rubber infill artificial turf fields. The fourth from left, shows the emerging modular natural grass format, whereby the natural grass field is rendered reparable by the help of previously grown and inventoried squares of natural grass.
A toxic cocktail
Typically, a rubber infill artificial turf consists of rubber crumb from recycled tires. There are other forms of rubber or combination of rubber and other substances but they are expensive enough to make the cost of an artificial turf field much prohibitively higher than natural grass fields. About 250 million scrap tires are generated in the US every year. The disposal of used tires in landfills or by incinerators has been a problem for a long time. Some 80 percent are ground up and recycled – 30 percent mixed with asphalt for highways; 30 percent mixed with plastics for molded products; and 15 percent used for athletic surfaces, including artificial turf. An average synthetic turf football or soccer fields uses 45,000 recycled tires that might otherwise take up space in the landfill. Ironically, the very article that is not readily disposable is being re-introduced into our environment in the form of granulated rubber crumb on our playing fields.
No. 10]Tyre Dust, by Pat Thomas. Ecologist. November 1, 2005. Pat Thomas is the Ecologist’s Health Editor. Excerpts: What goes into a tyre must also eventually come out. When a rubber tyre, bearing the weight of a vehicle, rolls across an asphalt or cement surface, tiny fragments of rubber, known variously as tyre dust or particulate matter, break off. Some become airborne and some are deposited at the side of the road, ready to be swept up by passing vehicles. Particulate matter is a very insidious form of air pollution and tyres contribute significantly to this form of pollution...Today we know differently. Several studies published in the last decade have demonstrated that about 60 per cent of these fragments are so small that they can enter the very deepest parts of the human lung. The particles of greatest concern are those that measure 10 microns or less in diameter (a human hair, by comparison, is about 70 microns thick and the dust motes that can be seen spiralling through the air when the sun shines through the window measure around 10 microns)...The microscopic dust that comes off tyres contains a unique mixture of substances that have a more powerful effect on the body than naturally occurring dust. To form the rubber into hard-wearing vehicle tyres, an extensive range of chemicals including xylene, benzene, petroleum naphtha, chlorinated solvents (for example 1,1,1- trichloroethane), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, anthracene, phenanthrene, benzo[a]pyrene, phenols, amines, oil, acids and alkalis (eg sodium hydroxide), polychlorinated biphenyls, halogenated cyanoalkanes, processing aids, and plasticisers. Tyre processing also involves several heavy metals including zinc, cadmium, lead, chromium and copper...In addition to generalised allergic responses, tyre dust also produces some very specific allergic responses. Tyres are made from a combination of natural latex, derived from rubber trees, and synthetic rubber derived from petroleum. At least 70-75 per cent of all natural rubber produced today is used to make tyres – the rest goes to making latex gloves and condoms, as well as paint and adhesives...The unique combination of known carcinogens, neurotoxins, heavy metals and other poisons in tyre dust can also be linked to more serious diseases. In a 1994 report on the adverse effects of particulate air pollution, published in the Annual Reviews of Public Health, researchers found that for every cubic metre of air, an increase of 20 micrograms (mcg) of particulate matter meant a one per cent increase in deaths from all causes. In this study deaths from respiratory failure, but also heart failure, were much more common as particulate levels increased. This estimate is echoed in the conclusions of a recent report by the non-profit Health Effects Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which found that death rates in the 90 largest US cities rise by 0.5 per cent with only a tiny increase – 10 mcg per cubic metre of air – in particles less than 10 micrometres in diameter. However, these findings may underestimate the real risk. This month a large, long-term study of residents in the Los Angeles, published in the journal Epidemiolog, found that for each increase of 10 micrograms per cubic metre of fine particles in the neighbourhood’s air, the risk of death from any cause rose by 11 to 17 per cent. The risk of death from diabetes rose more than two-fold and the risk of death from heart disease rose by an astounding 25 to 39 per cent. Similar findings were published in 2003 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, where researchers looking at 16 years of data on more than a million people concluded that long-term exposure to air pollution posed a greater risk of death from heart disease than it did for death from respiratory ailments...Why particulate pollution should have such an effect on the heart rate is still a mystery. One possibility is that when you inhale these very small particles deep into your lungs, some of them make their way into the bloodstream, where they find easy access to organs such as the heart. Once they become lodged in cardiac muscle, these particles may also initiate an inflammatory response that reduces blood flow and speeds the progression of atherosclerosis. Humans aren’t the only ones affected...Tyre dust is a significant source of pollution. But what happens at the end of a tyre’s lifecycle produces an altogether different kind of pollution. Piles of waste tyres are rapidly accumulating around the world. As of 2003, about 290 million tyres were discarded in the US every year (roughly one per person). In the UK around 40 million spare tyres accumulate each year. Since 2003 it has been illegal to dump whole tyres in landfills in the UK and by next year it will be illegal to dump chipped tyres into landfills as well. The disposal of tyre waste is now a major problem throughout the world and one to which there are no apparent solutions. Tyres are designed not to fall apart and this means that they are difficult to dispose of. Although they can remain substantially intact for years beyond their useful life, the number of dangerous chemicals in tyres mean that they can’t be safely burnt. Nevertheless, cement makers and paper mills are happy to use waste tyres as fuel – a disastrous enterprise that produces even higher levels of particulate pollution. Buried in the ground, their constituent chemicals leech out on the ground and water table. Used to make artificial reefs, they can provide homes for certain types of marine life, but are toxic to many fish. At the moment the best use of old tyres is to extend their life by retreading them. This process involves grinding down the surface, or casing, of the worn tyre until it is smooth and gluing a new veneer of tread onto it. While retreading a tyre uses far fewer resources than buying a new tyre, it is not entirely environmentally friendly since it still involves the use of non-renewable resources to make the new tread, and strong adhesives and other toxic chemicals to attach it to the old casing (and, of course it makes no impact whatsoever on the problem of tyre dust)... At every stage of a tyre’s life cycle, from the sourcing of raw materials to the mountains of waste tyres that blot the landscape, tyres are bad news for the environment...When government think tanks think about tyres, they focus on the environmental menace of waste tyres.. This is undoubtedly important, but clearly its scope is woefully inadequate. We’ve got to put the bigger picture of tyre lifecycles onto the agenda before we can even begin to reduce their impact on health and environment. Read the complete version at http://www.theecologist.org/archive_detail.asp?content_id=543.
No. 09]Infill granules. According to Melos GmbH, Melle, Germany(www.melos-gmbh.com), there are essentially four varieties of granule infill materials: The SBR infill material is the most cost-effective infill granules. The material has a high rubber content that gives it high elasticity. The carbon black gives it resistance to UV and the weather. Since this product is manufactured from recycled materials (principally old car tires) some variation in quality cannot entirely be ruled out. Depending on the length of time the original material was used, it may become brittle after a relatively short time. Because the material was originally manufactured for a different purpose this granule’s polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and zinc contents are extremely variable and may be quite high. It is not possible to flameproof this material. The PUR-coated SBR granules combines the elasticity of SBR materials with a free choice of colors. In price, this material lies between SBR and EPDM infill granules, which makes PUR-coated SBR the logical alternative where colored (green or brown) granules are to be used and where the material’s environmental toxicity is of secondary importance. It is not possible to flameproof this material. The EPDM infill granule has been around since the time rubberized artificial turf was first introduced. It is produced especially for playing fields and so the material can be tailored to individual requirements, so it is possible to supply flame-retardant and foamed granules in any desired color. EPDM infill granules are naturally non-fading and weatherproof. The use of suitable pigments prolongs colors, and choosing appropriate cross-linking chemicals produces a material with “excellent” eco-toxical properties and PAH values under 1 mg/kg. The thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) are the very latest development in the field of infill granules. It can be made to specified elasticity and flame-retardant. This infill material has low wear and high elasticity, and its thermoplastic properties enable it to be recycled.
No. 8] Hazardous Chemicals in Synthetic Turf, by William Crain and Junfeng Zhang, Summer 2006 [The following article appeared in Rachel’s Democracy & Health News, No. 871: Hazards of Synthetic Turf, September 07, 2006. Rachel’s Environmental & Health News is a publication of Environmental Research Foundation, New Brunswick, New Jersey. The authors of the study: William Crain, Ph.D., is professor of psychology at The City College of New York and president of Citizens for a Green Riverside Park. Junfeng (Jim) Zhang, Ph.D. is professor and acting chair, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, the School of Public Health, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Rutgers University. On the web, this study is available at http://www.rachel.org/bulletin/index.cfm?issue_ID=2568]. A new generation of synthetic turf is becoming popular in the U.S. Brands such as FieldTurf are springier than the old AstroTurf and feel more like real grass. They also promise low maintenance costs. New York City is so attracted to the new synthetic turf that it is installing it in 79 parks, often substituting it for natural soil and grass. . However, the new artificial grass raises health concerns. In particular, the base of FieldTurf and similar brands includes recycled rubber pellets that could contain harmful chemicals. What's more, we have observed that on many New York City fields, the rubber pellets are also present on the surface. When one of us (William Crain) was picking up some pellets by hand, a boy told him that after playing in the park, he finds the pellets in his shoes at home at night. Because the rubber pellets are much more accessible to children and athletes than we had supposed, we decided to analyze a sample for two possible sets of toxicants -- polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and toxic metals. We collected our first sample from a new FieldTurf surface in Manhattan's Riverside Park in May, 2006. [Note: This is an error. The brand of artificial turf sampled in Riverside Park was A-Turf, not FieldTurf.] To gain information on the reliability of our results, we gathered a second sample in June, 2006 from a different part of the park.The PAHs were extracted in a Soxhlet apparatus with organic solvents. The metals were extracted by means of nitric acid with the aid of a high-efficiency microwave oven (Marsx Microwave). Both methods were used to estimate the maximum amounts of the chemicals contained in the bulk material (rubber pellets). The analyses were conducted at the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute of Rutgers University. The PAH results for our first sample are listed as Sample 1 in Table 1, below. As the table shows, six PAHs were above the concentration levels that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) considers sufficiently hazardous to public health to require their removal from contaminated soil sites. . It is highly likely that all six PAHs are carcinogenic to humans. The PAH results for Sample 2 are also listed in the table. Although the concentration levels in Samples 1 and 2 varied somewhat, the results for Sample 2 replicated the finding that the concentration levels of the six PAHs are above the DEC's tolerable levels for soil.
Table 1. Concentrations of PAHs (ppm: parts per million) Sample 1Sample 2DEC A-TurfA-TurfContaminated Rubber Pellets.…. Rubber PelletsSoil Limits Benzo(a)anthracene1.231.261.0 Chrysene1.327.551.0 Benzo(b)fluoranthene3.392.191.0 Benzo(a)pyrene8.583.561.0 Benzo(k)fluoranthene7.291.780.8 Dibenzo(a,h)anthracene3.521.550.33 The analyses also revealed levels of zinc in both samples that exceed the DEC's tolerable levels. Lead and arsenic also were present, and many scientists believe that these metals should not be introduced into the environment at all. We want to emphasize that the findings are preliminary. PAHs in rubber might not act the same way as in soil, and we do not yet have information on the ease with which the PAHs in these rubber particles might be absorbed by children or adults -- by ingestion, inhalation, or absorption through the skin. However, the findings are worrisome. Until more is known, it wouldn't be prudent to install the synthetic turf in any more parks. We have informed the New York City Parks Department of our findings, but as far as we know, the Parks Department has not altered its plans to continue the installation of artificial turf in numerous parks. References:  New Yorkers for Parks: A New Turf War: Synthetic Turf in New York City's Parks -- Special Report, Spring 2006. www.NY4P.org. [2 ]6 NYCRR Part 375, Environmental Remediation Program, Draft Revised June 14, 2006, Department of Environmental Conservation, Table 375-6.8 (a) and (b).
No. 07] Banned in Sweden! The government of Sweden has banned the use of recycled tires in artifical turf. This progressive measure is being matched by the manufacturers in Germany, where more and more of the rubber used in synthetic turf is virgin rubber. In the United States there are no regulations as yet to ban the use of recycled tires; however, there are strict regulations governing the disposal and/or incineration of tires. The following pages reproduced here below contain the background and conclusions of the Chemicals Inspectorate of Sweden. [Click here for the full PDF version].
No. 06] Synthetic turf from a chemical perspective: a status report. Swedish Chemicals Inspectorate (March 2006). Background. Synthetic turf is used for football pitches around the world. This turf has many advantages, being hard-wearing and easier to maintain than natural grass. These pitches allow the football season to be extended, independently of the weather. Synthetic turf often contains rubber granulate from waste tyres, which in turn contain several substances with hazardous properties. A discussion is currently being carried out in several European counties, including Norway, Italy and Germany, concerning the properties of synthetic turf and the possible risks of using it. Many municipalities in Sweden have requested information and advice, as have manufacturers, representatives from football, and the general public. The Swedish Chemicals Inspectorate (KemI) has consequently prepared this report in order to discuss the properties and use of synthetic turf from a chemical perspective. This report provides a comprehensive survey and an assessment based on current knowledge. It is based to a large extent on results of investigations and assessments that have recently been carried out in Norway. Information has also been obtained from companies that deliver and install synthetic turf surfaces, the Swedish Football Association, sports administrations, environmental administrations, representatives from the recycling industry, and from the Swedish Standards Institute (SIS). KemI has also been in contact with the Swedish Work Environment Authority, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, and the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT). Suppliers, representatives from football and authorities exchanged experiences concerning synthetic turf at a meeting held at KemI on 18 January 2005. The scope of the report is limited to synthetic turf that contains granulate from recycled tyres used for football pitches. Synthetic turf that contains other material, such as new rubber, thermoplastics and rubber-coated sand, have not been assessed. Other uses of recycled tyres, such as their use in playgrounds, for horse-riding surfaces and other sporting activities, have also not been assessed. KemI hopes that it will be possible to use this report as a basis for product development in synthetic turf companies, and for facilitating local decisions and assessments when laying synthetic turf surfaces. Summary.Synthetic turf is used for football pitches around the world. This turf has many advantages, being hard-wearing and easier to maintain than natural grass. These surfaces allow the football season to be extended, independently of the weather. Synthetic turf often contains rubber granulate from waste tyres, which in turn contain several substances of very high concern. A discussion is currently being carried out in several European countries, including Norway, Italy and Germany, concerning the properties of synthetic turf and the possible risks of using it. Many municipalities in Sweden have requested information and advice, as have manufacturers, representatives from football, and the general public. The Swedish Chemicals Inspectorate (KemI) has consequently prepared this report in order to discuss the properties and use of synthetic turf from a chemical perspective. The report briefly describes the health and environmental properties of certain substances, it summarises results from some relevant investigations into synthetic turf, and it describes the work for standardisation that is currently being carried out in Europe. Furthermore, Swedish environmental quality objectives and guidelines for the assessment of water quality and air quality are presented. KemI’s overall assessment is based on the material presented here. Conclusions.Recycling Tyres. It is often a good strategy to recycle material from worn-out products for reasons of energy economy and the efficient use of resources. This recycling, however, may conflict with attempts to minimise the risk of using chemicals. It is important before the new use of the material is started to determine whether it will lead to people or the environment being exposed to hazardous chemicals. A recycling perspective and a consciousness of chemical aspects should be included at the production stage, in order to be able to manage recycled material to a greater degree and in a safe manner. Tyres contain substances of very high concern.Tyres contain several substances that are substances of very high concern. These substances may persist in the environment, they may be bioaccumulative, carcinogenic, reprotoxic, or mutagenic. This is true of, for example, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), phthalates and certain metals. These substances should not be released into the environment and thus waste tyres should not be used for synthetic turf surfaces. The environmental objectives set down by the Swedish parliament state that substances of very high concern should be phased out from newly produced articles. Work is currently under way to reduce the levels of hazardous substances in tyres. The levels of PAHs will be regulated within the EU with effect from 2010. This means that the levels of substances of very high concern in tyres will, in time, decrease. It will, however, take time before PAHs disappear completely from rubber, and tyres contain more substances than just PAHs that have hazardous properties. It is important for this reason that the future recycling processes take place in a controlled and safe manner in order to avoid the spread and distribution of substances of very high concern. Synthetic turf contains substances of very high concern, but this does not necessarily mean that it is a direct risk for human health and the environment. The direct risk depends on the extent to which humans and the environment are exposed to the hazardous substances. Environmental Risks and Health Risks. The use of tyres in synthetic turf surfaces means that both humans and the environment will be exposed to recycled tyres in an uncontrolled manner that may lead to risks. It can be expected thatthe hazardous substances in the tyres are more readily released and spread when the tyres have been shredded to give a granulate with small granules than is the case when the use involves larger pieces of tyre in other contexts. There is a local environmental risk. Current knowledge allows the conclusion to be drawn that synthetic turf that contains rubber from recycled tyres may give rise to local environmental risks. Investigations have shown that zinc and phenols can leach from the rubber granulate, and these substances can affect aquatic and sedimentdwelling organisms, if they reach neighbouring water courses. The total amount of these substances that leaches from synthetic turf is small, however, and thus any effect on the environment that they have is expected to be local. Other sources may also contribute to increased levels of these substances in water courses. The health risks for players are probably low. Measurement of indoor air and exposure calculations have shown that there is probably a small health risk associated with simply being on or playing on synthetic turf surfaces that use rubber from recycled tyres. The exposure levels and any allergic reactions, however, have been poorly studied. Exposure to these substances from other sources, such as car exhaust, must also be taken into consideration to achieve a total assessment of health risks. KemI’s Recommendations.Do not select synthetic turf that contains substances of very high concern when laying new surfaces. Material that contains substances of very high concern should not be used, as specified by the environmental objectives of the Swedish parliament. This means that granulate formed from recycled rubber should not be used when laying new surfaces of synthetic turf. The Norwegian authorities have issued a similar recommendation. The Netherlands has also suggested that a similar requirement is included in the EU standard “Surfaces for sport areas – Synthetic turf surfaces primarily designed for outdoor use". New solutions must be developed and requested –the responsibility of companies. It is important that the recycled rubber in synthetic turf is replaced by material that truly is better from the point of view of health and the environment. It is the responsibility of companies to ensure that the products that are delivered are safe for people and the environment. The contents of new materials should be known and they should preferably have been assessed from the point of view of a total lifecycle effect on the environment. This means that companies must have expert knowledge about their products. Swedish companies should place demands on their suppliers and they should provide the drive required to develop better alternatives. The sports administrations in the municipalities and others who are involved when new surfaces are to be laid should request information about the contents of chemicals, and they should pose demands during the purchasing process and during installation such that substances of very high concern are not released into the environment.
No. 05] Potential health and environmental effects linked to artificial turf systems - final report, by Norwegian Building Research Institute (September 2004). [Click here for the full report in PDF].
The Norwegian Building Research Institute (NBI) carried out a study of potential health and environmental effects linked to artificial turf systems on behalf of the Norwegian soccer federation. The study covered three types of rubber granulate made from recycled rubber, one EPDM rubber granulate and two artificial turf fibers, which are in use in the Nordic region. The rubber granulates and artificial turf fibers were analyzed with regard to the total content of arsenic, cadmium, copper, chromium, mercury, nickel, zinc, PCB, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), phthalates and phenols. Leachate tests and degassing tests were also carried out. The study found the following with respect to the artificial turf fibers. They contained copper, zinc, individual phthalates, 4-t-octylphenol and iso-nonyl-phenol. The concentration of zinc and copper complied with the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority's normative values for most sensitive land use for both fiber types. The leachate from the fibers contained zinc. The concentration was higher than the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority's limit for zinc in water with Environmental Quality Class V (very strongly polluted water), but lower than the permitted zinc concentration in Canadian drinking water. As the measured concentration of environmental toxins (with the exception of copper) in the artificial turf fibers was lower than in the rubber granulates, and the artificial turf fibers in any case constituted a much smaller proportion of the artificial turf system in terms of mass. The study found the following with respect to the artificial turf fibers. The total analysis showed that the rubber granulates based on recycled rubber contain lead, cadmium, copper, mercury, zinc, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons,certain phthalates, 4-t-octylphenol and iso-nonylphenol. The total concentration of lead, cadmium, copper and mercury in the recycled rubber granulates was below the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority's normative values for most sensitive land use. The total concentrations of zinc and PAH in the recycled rubber granulates exceeded the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority?s normative values for most sensitive land use. The concentrations of dibutylphthalate (DBP) and diisononylphthalate (DINP) exceeded the PNEC values for terrestrial life taken from the EU's program for risk assessment. The concentration of isononylphenol was above the limits specified for cultivated land in the Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines. The leachate from the recycled granulates contained, PAH, phthalates and phenols. The concentration of zinc indicated that the leachate water was placed in the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority's Environmental Quality Class V (very strongly polluted water), but is lower than the permissible zinc concentration in Canadian drinking water. The concentration of anthracene, fluoranthene, pyrene and nonylphenols exceeded the limits for freshwater specified in the Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines. An expanded risk assessment with an analysis of possible spreading paths and changes in leaching properties over time was found to be necessary in order to determine the degree to which the concentrations of zinc, anthracene, fluoranthene, pyrene, phthalates and nonylphenols in the leachate are actually harmful to people and the environment. The recycled rubber granulates gave off a significant number of alkylated benzenes in gaseous form. Trichloromethane and cis-1.2-dichlorethene were also found. With the exceptions of chromium and zinc, EPDM rubber contained smaller quantities of hazardous substances than the recycled rubber types overall. It also gave off much smaller quantities of volatile organic compounds. The report suggested that further investigations of artificial turf concentrate on the rubber crumb component of the field. It recommended that measurements be taken of air quality above artificial turf fields in order to determine whether air quality is satisfactory.
No. 04] The Myth of Rubberized Landscapes, by Linda Chalker-Scott, Ph.D. [About the source: Chalker-Scott is an Extension Horticulturist and Associate Professor at the Puyallup Research and Extension Center at Washington State University. On the web, the study is available at https://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/403/2015/rubber-mulch.pdf. In an e-mail to Dr. Chalker-Scott, the Managing Editor of this site asked if the same conclusion about rubber mulch could extend to the use of rubber crumb in synthetic turf fields. Dr. Chalker-Scott responded in the affirmative, as the base product (recycled tires) for rubber crumb in synthetic turf is the same as in rubber mulch]. The Myth: “Recycled rubber mulch is an environmentally friendly, non-toxic choice for landscapes.” Discarded rubber tires are the bane of waste management; according to the EPA, we generate 290 million scrap tires annually. Scrap tire stockpiles can pose significant fire hazards, such as the 1983 Virginia tire fire that burned for 9 months. Obviously finding a market for these slow-to-decompose materials is desirable, and many innovative uses have been developed, including rubberized asphalt, playground surfaces, and landscape mulches. From an engineering standpoint, crumb rubber as a soil amendment has performed favorably in reducing compaction to specialty landscape surfaces such as sports fields and putting greens. Rubber mulches are touted by manufacturers and distributors as permanent (“doesn’t decay away”) and aesthetically pleasing (“no odor” - “looks like shredded wood mulch” – “earth tones and designer colors” – “special fade resistant coating”) landscape materials. Furthermore, we are told that rubber mulch is “safe for flowers, plants and pets” (though it “doesn’t feed or house insects”) and “dramatically improves landscaping.” It seems to be an environmentally-friendly solution to a major waste disposal problem. The Reality:Rubber mulches have not proved to be particularly good choices for either horticultural production or landscape uses. In comparison studies of several mulch types, rubber tire mulch was less effective in controlling weeds in herbaceous perennial plots than wood chips. Similarly, sawdust made a better mulch for Christmas tree production in terms of weed control, microbial biomass, and soil chemistry. Another comparative study found rubber to be less effective than straw or fiber mulch in establishing turfgrasses. Not only do rubber mulches perform less effectively in the landscape, they possess an additional, unwanted characteristic. Compared to a dozen other mulch types, ground rubber is more likely to ignite and more difficult to extinguish. In areas where the possibility of natural or man-made fires is significant, rubber mulches should not be used. The Myth:“Permanence” of rubber mulch. The Reality: Far from being permanent, rubber is broken down by microbes like any other organic product. Many bacterial species have been isolated and identified that are capable of utilizing rubber as their sole energy source. Such bacteria have been found in a variety of environments, including the cavity water of discarded tires. Although some of the additives used in tire manufacture are toxic to rubber-degrading bacteria, there are white-rot and brown-rot fungal species that can detoxify these additives. While isolating these microbes has been beneficial in developing natural mechanisms to recycle rubber products, it also points out the fallacy of assuming that rubber mulch is “permanent.” Furthermore, it alerts us to the very real possibility that car tires leach toxic compounds into the landscape. TheMyth: “Non-toxicity” of rubber mulch. The Reality:Current research at Bucknell University indicates that rubber leachate from car tires can kill entire aquatic communities of algae, zooplankton, snails, and fish. At lower concentrations, the leachates cause reproductive problems and precancerous lesions. A similar study exploring the use of tires as artificial reef substrates also found rubber leachate to negatively affect the survival of various seaweeds and phytoplankton. Marine and other saline environments are less sensitive to tire leachates, however, and the greatest threat of contamination appears to be to freshwater habitats. Part of the toxic nature of rubber leachate is due to its mineral content: aluminum, cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, sulfur, and zinc have all been identified in laboratory and field leachates. If rubber products have been exposed to contaminants during their useful lifetime, such as lead or other heavy metals, they will adsorb these metals and release them as well. Of these minerals, rubber contains very high levels of zinc – as much as 2% of the tire mass. A number of plant species, including landscape materials, have been shown to accumulate abnormally high levels of zinc sometimes to the point of death. One USDA researcher who has studied zinc and other metals in soils and plant materials for decades strongly believes that ground rubber should not be used “in any composting, or in any potting medium, or casually dispersed on agricultural or garden soils” because of zinc toxicity. Acidic soils and aquatic systems are particularly sensitive, since heavy metals and other positively charged elements are less tightly bound to the soil and more available to plant and animal uptake. Rubber leachates are complex solutions. They include not only the minerals and organic building blocks of rubber, but also various plasticizers and accelerators used during the vulcanizing process. In high enough concentrations, some of these rubber leachates are known to be harmful to human health; effects of exposure range from skin and eye irritation to major organ damage and even death. Long term exposure can lead to neurological damage, carcinogenesis, and mutagenesis. Some of these materials break down quickly, while others are known to bioaccumulate. One of the more common rubber leachates is 2-mercaptobenzothiazole, a common accelerator for rubber vulcanization. In addition to its known human health concerns, it is highly persistent in the environment and very toxic to aquatic organisms: its environmental persistence may cause long-term damage to aquatic environments constantly exposed to rubber leachates. Another family of organic leachates under scrutiny are the polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These compounds, used as rubber softeners and fillers, have been repeatedly demonstrated to be toxic to aquatic life. PAHs are released continually into solution, and after two years in a laboratory test leachates were shown to be even more toxic than at the study’s inception. It is abundantly clear from the scientific literature that rubber should not be used as a landscape amendment or mulch. There is no question that toxic substances leach from rubber as it degrades, contaminating the soil, landscape plants, and associated aquatic systems. While recycling waste tires is an important issue to address, it is not a solution to simply move the problem to our landscapes and surface waters. The Bottom Line - Rubber mulch is not as effective as other organic mulch choices in controlling weeds. - Rubber mulch is highly flammable and difficult to extinguish once it is burning. - Rubber mulch is not permanent; like other organic substances, it decomposes. - Rubber mulch is not non-toxic; it contains a number of metal and organic contaminantswith known environmental and/or human health effects.
No. 03] Environmental impact of highway construction and repair materials on surface and ground waters. Case study: crumb rubber asphalt concrete,by M.F. Azizian, P.O. Nelson, P. Thayumanavan and K.J. Williamson
The practice of incorporating certain waste products into highway construction and repair materials (CRMs) has become more popular. These practices have prompted the National Academy of Science, National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) to research the possible impacts of these CRMs on the quality of surface and ground waters. State department of transportations (DOTs) are currently experimenting with use of ground tire rubber ( crumb rubber) in bituminous construction and as a crack sealer. Crumb rubber asphalt concrete (CR-AC) leachates contain a mixture of organic and metallic contaminants. Benzothiazole and 2(3H)-benzothiazolone (organic compounds used in tire rubber manufacturing) and the metals mercury and aluminum were leached in potentially harmful concentrations (exceeding toxic concentrations for aquatic toxicity tests). CR-AC leachate exhibited moderate to high toxicity for algae ( Selenastrum capriconutum) and moderate toxicity for water fleas ( Daphnia magna). Benzothiazole was readily removed from CR-AC leachate by the environmental processes of soil sorption, volatilization, and biodegradation. Metals, which do not volatilize or photochemically or biologically degrade, were removed from the leachate by soil sorption. Contaminants from CR-AC leachates are thus degraded or retarded in their transport through nearby soils and ground waters. Source: The authors are affiliated with Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon. The lead-author, Azizian is with Department of Civil Construction and Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University (e-mail: Mohammad.Azizian@oregonstate.edu). On the web the foregoing abstract is available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=14522190&dopt=Abstract.
No. 02]A Colorado study entitled “A Case Study of Tire Crumb Use on Playgrounds: Risk Analysis and Communication When Major Clinical Knowledge Gaps Exist,” by Mark E. Anderson,Katherine H. Kirkland,Tee L. Guidotti,and Cecile Rose, and published in Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 114, no. 1 (January 2006) admits that there exists a serious gap in the risk assessment of rubberized playground surfaces, which use rubber crumb from recycled tires. For the full length report in PDF format click here.
No. 01] TenCate Thiolon Product Advisory [Excerpts]. Click here for full PDF version Rubber infill is an important component of an artificial turf system. It affects a sport’s technical characteristics as well as the performance of the artificial turf field itself. According to Thiolon advisory, “It can also be a hazard for the UV stability and durability of the artificial turf fibers.” Mainly 2 kinds of rubber are used for artificial turf systems, virgin EPDM rubber and regenerated (recycled) SBR rubber. The processing oil can leach out of the rubber. In laboratory tests, these oils can be extracted from the rubber. Apart from the extracted quantity, the type of extracted (leachable) component is also important. Tests in the Thiolon laboratory showed that SBR rubber showed a weight decrease of 5.3% after extraction. The extracted material is brown and consists of aromatic and naphthenic oil. The EPDM rubber showed a weight decrease of 9.6% after extraction. The extracted material is transparent and consists purely of paraffin oil. Chemicals within rubber infill materials could affect the UV stability of (non LSR) artificial grass fibers, especially that of PP fibers. Wear and powdering. Both EPDM and SBR rubber are originally manufactured for different use. Car tires are manufactured to resist extensive and long use. EPDM infill material is made especially for the use in artificial grass. Consequently, SBR rubber has a higher resistance to wear and tear. Morphology. Stud roll tests showed that baculiform particles generate more wear of the artificial grass [than] "normal" sherical particles. In order to judge the shape of rubber particles, we can calculate the "roundness." Roundness equals the samllest particle dimension over largest particle dimension. Particle size distribution.Thiolon advises to use rubber particles that show a distribution of particle sizes between 0.25 and 3.0 mm. An infill rubber with these particle sizes can be considered as a good quality infill material. According to the advisory, “Particles smaller than 0.25 mm are considered as dust and can build a health risk.” Source: TenCate Thiolon Product Advisory: Requirements of rubber infill materials (Issue 2005-02) -- PAThiolon@tencate.com, www.tencate.com, www.thilon-grass.com.
No. 00] Hazardous waste --a pictorial. The pictures below depict "how not to dispose of trash" that is associated with turf fields. The picture of migrating rubber crumb was taken under the bleachers located some ten feet away from the field itself. Coyote look-a likes do not work to keep the geese and other pooping birds away from turf fields. The dogs chasing the birds away seems to be the best way to stop birds from visiting and soiling the fields. But as long a there is natural grass strips and approaches to a turf field, the geese and ducks and seagulls may visit.