EHHI's Artificial Turf Report
News and Studies on Artificial Turf
EHHI's report on artificial turf calls attention to growing concerns about children’s exposures to ground-up rubber tires used as infill material in synthetic turf fields. Crumb rubber is used in artificial turf and as playground mulch, despite potential health hazards, especially under high temperatures.
Natural grass fields get a few degrees hotter than the outside air, but synthetic turf fields get 60 to 70 degrees hotter than the outside air. This excess heat makes these fields potentially very dangerous. Athletes can get dehydrated and even suffer heat stroke while playing on them. Small children are even at a higher risk.
The Yale chemical analysis (see below) found 12 carcinogens in the synthetic turf tested. High temperatures cause crumb rubber infill to outgas at a higher rate, which also poses an additional health risk to those who play on these fields in the summer.
In 2009, University of Washington assistant soccer coach Amy Griffin noticed abnormally high rates of cancer in athletes who played on synthetic turf. As of April 2016, she had counted 220 athletes with cancer. Of the 166 soccer players with cancer, 102 of them, or 61%, were goalkeepers. The only athletes in this informal count were those who knew to call Amy Griffin. There is still no government agency tracking cancers among athletes who have played on synthetic turf.