The Obama administration recently announced that it was opening an official investigation into a possible connection between crumb rubber turf and higher incidences of cancer.
Crumb rubber, which is made from recycled tires, is used in turf that covers fields and playgrounds throughout New Jersey and elsewhere in the U.S. Manufacturers of artificial turf intended for school playgrounds, as well as installers of synthetic turf on athletic fields, have been in business for decades because artificial turf is often preferred to grass as a surface, mostly for reasons of cost and maintenance. One estimate found that more than 12,000 fields in the U.S. are covered with crumb rubber.
Although crumb rubber turf has been around as an alternative to grass since 1990, medical experts are now raising red flags about the use of crumb rubber in areas where young people run, play and congregate. People who are exposed to fields with artificial turf made out of crumb rubber may be more likely to contract cancer, according to recent independent studies.
In response to questions about the safety of individuals who come into contact with synthetic turf, the federal government has enlisted three agencies to conduct a study of the health consequences of crumb rubber. The tri-agency partnership includes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Within these agencies, up to 50 technical experts will be armed with a research budget of $2 million as they look into possible health risks, such as cancer, that might be associated with crumb rubber turf.
For more information, access the Capital Berg article, “Investigation into Link between Crumb Rubber Turf and Cancer.”
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