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EPA Study of Synthetic Turf and Crumb Rubber Finds “Low Level of Concern”

Thursday, December 10, 2009  
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ATLANTA, GA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today the results of a scoping study of the health risks from inhalation, ingestion, and dermal contact with synthetic turf and crumb rubber. It concluded that "concentrations of components monitored in this study were below levels of concern.” The study further validates the statements of safety by the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and other governmental agencies, including the New York State Dept of Environmental Conservation and Dept of Health, the New York City Dept of Health, and the California EPA in recent studies.

Here are highlights from the EPA’s news release:

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released results of a limited field monitoring study of artificial-turf playing fields and playgrounds constructed with recycled tire material or tire crumb.
  • "The limited data EPA collected during this study, which do not point to a concern, represent an important addition to the information gathered by various government agencies," said Peter Grevatt, director of EPA's Office of Children's Health Protection. "The study will help set the stage for a meeting this spring, where EPA will bring together officials from states and federal agencies to evaluate the existing body of science on this topic and determine what additional steps should be taken to ensure the safety of kids who play on these surfaces."

Study findings:

  • Particulate matter, metals and volatile organic compound concentrations were measured in the air samples and compared with areas away from the turf fields (background levels).
  • The levels found in air samples from the artificial turf were similar to background levels.
  • No tire-related fibers were observed in the air samples.
  • All air concentrations of particulate matter and lead were well below levels of concern.
  • More than 90 percent of the lead in the tire crumb material was tightly bound and unavailable for absorption by users of the turf fields.
  • Zinc, which is a known additive in tires, was found in tire crumb samples. However, air and surface wipe monitoring levels of zinc were found to be below levels of concern.

"The Synthetic Turf Council congratulates the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for this important new information,” said Rick Doyle, STC president. "The general public will benefit from the detailed and clear presentation of the study’s results.”

The EPA’s news release can be viewed here, and the full study is accessible at www.epa.gov. Visit www.syntheticturfcouncil.org for the CPSC’s statement and a full list of studies, reports and official position statements.

About the Synthetic Turf Council

Based in Atlanta, the Synthetic Turf Council was founded in 2003 to promote the industry and to assist buyers and end users with the selection, use and maintenance of synthetic turf systems in sports field, golf, municipal parks, airports, landscape and residential applications. The organization is also a resource for current, credible, and independent research on the safety and environmental impact of synthetic turf. Membership includes builders, landscape architects, testing labs, maintenance providers, manufacturers, suppliers, installation contractors, infill material suppliers and other specialty service companies. For more information, visit www.syntheticturfcouncil.org.


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