STC Position on Crumb Rubber Infill Safety and Calls for Additional Federal Guidance
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Posted by: Terrie Ward, STC Marketing & Education Director
Atlanta, GA – Recent news reports have focused on a desire for the U.S. government to issue additional guidance on the safety of synthetic turf fields containing crumb rubber infill. The calls come from parents of children who play on synthetic turf, and are echoed by officials at the local and state level who continue to inquire about persistent but unfounded concerns about the safety of crumb rubber infill.
The Synthetic Turf Council (STC) remains a strong advocate of science-based research and reporting on the safety of synthetic turf. We serve as a clearinghouse for the more than 50 studies that have addressed various concerns on synthetic turf, including those conducted by local, state and federal agencies. In each case, study results have shown no elevated health risks associated with synthetic turf or its components. For schools that have conducted their own analysis in the past year, those who report their findings have all found there is no research that validates a plausible link between crumb rubber and cancer.
“We have always been supportive of any new or expanded research that addresses the desire for additional information,” said Al Garver, President of the Synthetic Turf Council. “Beyond being supportive of further research, we routinely assist parents, schools and government agencies with information that helps them understand how and why synthetic turf fields are safe and tremendously beneficial for schools and communities. We recently developed voluntary guidelines for testing crumb rubber and other infills used in synthetic turf.”
In August, 2015, the STC put forward testing guidelines based upon European Standard EN 71-3, which sets exacting limits for various elements found in children’s toys. This standard allows crumb rubber to be tested in comparison to everyday products used by children, and is a respected and widely-recognized health and human safety protocol based upon quantified toxicology test methods.
There are more than 12,000 synthetic turf fields in use across the United States, including those used by professional sports leagues, collegiate teams, public and private school systems, parks departments and municipalities. In many cases, these organizations have assessed the extensive research on the safety of these fields and concluded there is no elevated risk to those who play on them.
The STC website, www.syntheticturfcouncil.org, includes the many studies on the human health and environmental safety of synthetic turf and crumb rubber.