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.
There were 96 chemicals found in 14 samples analyzed, half of which have had no government
Because the synthetic turf industry has claimed that the CT Department of Health study shows that synthetic turf fields were safe, Environment and Human Health, Inc., felt it important to closely analyze the actual study to see what it really said. The study only looked at the health risks to those 12 years and up—yet many younger children also play on these fields. On careful reading, you will see the flaws in the study and all their stated limitations. It is hard to believe that the researchers could declare that their data showed the fields were safe.
Read EHHI's analysis here. The OpEd by EHHI President Nancy Alderman, published in The New Haven Register, says grass is known to be safe.
The game was delayed for around seven minutes, and was quickly dubbed "pelletgate" on social media. Batavia Turf Instant Lawns owner Craig Yunker says artificial fields produce hazardous waste, and the incident raised concerns about player safety.
See pages 7-10 for EPA's plan for recycling rubber tires in toddler playgrounds and synthetic
Read more about the City of Hartford's ban, effective January 19, 2016.
Company aggressively marketed defective artificial sports fields and misled schools and municipalities.
The tire industry association VACO's analysis found carcinogenic substances above consumer limits in 58 out of 60 artificial turf fields studied.
Spanish researchers investigated hazardous chemicals in surfaces containing recycled rubber
Artificial Turf Heat Issues
Artificial fields are largely unusable during warm days because of high temperatures. Practicing on an artificial field may increase the incidence of heat stroke, muscle cramping, and overall athlete fatigue. Scientists at Columbia University who analyzed satellite thermal images of New York City the past two summers concluded that synthetic turf fields were up to 60 degrees hotter than grass fields.