|Crumb Rubber Infill FAQs|
Frequently Asked Questions about Crumb Rubber Infill
The Synthetic Turf Council (STC) believes that independent, science-based information should be the foundation of any discussion regarding the safety of synthetic turf with crumb rubber infill. The STC and the synthetic turf industry take very seriously the health, safety, and welfare of those who play and stay active on synthetic turf. As the synthetic turf industry’s trade association and official voice, it is our responsibility to address the issues raised in recent media reports in an objective and balanced manner.
What is crumb rubber?
Crumb rubber is derived from scrap car and truck tires that are ground up and recycled. The steel and fiber tire components are removed during the process and the rubber pellets are sorted by size. Each year, over 30 million used auto and truck tires are used to produce the crumb rubber infill for synthetic turf fields.
Why is crumb rubber the most widely-used infill for synthetic turf sports fields?
Serving to protect the players and enhance the game, crumb rubber infill is a durable, high-performing and low-cost infill that provides shock absorption, traction, and foot stability. It also extends the life of synthetic turf systems, which utilizes a long pile height and needs to be supported with infill materials for directional stability and structural integrity, as well as resiliency. When a lush grass sports field cannot be maintained because of high usage or climatic conditions, synthetic turf is the best option to allow continuous play throughout the year and in virtually all weather conditions.
Over 98% of all synthetic turf sports fields in the world use crumb rubber for the infill, including many NFL franchises, as well as member associations and teams of the Union of European Football Associations, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the International Rugby Board and other international sports federations.
Is crumb rubber safe?
Crumb rubber has been critically examined and studied since the late 1980's. More than 90 independent and credible studies have validated the safety of synthetic turf with crumb rubber infill, including those conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; departments of health and the environment in New York, New York City, Connecticut, and California; and private universities, such as the University of California-Berkeley. Here is what some of those studies say:
For more independent research on synthetic turf and crumb rubber infill, please visit the STC website: http://www.syntheticturfcouncil.org/?page=Research#cri
Does crumb rubber in synthetic turf sports fields elevate a child’s risk of developing cancer?
There is no research that directly links crumb rubber exposure to cancer. In fact, a 2010 review conducted by the University of California, Berkeley is among the most comprehensive reports to date, reviewing the existing studies from the past 12 years, as well as containing independent analysis. Here are some of their findings:
What are the medical professionals and research scientists saying about the health effects of exposure to crumb rubber?
How does crumb rubber impact the environment?
Crumb rubber infill used in synthetic turf play fields is an environmental success story because every year the crumb rubber infill diverts about 30 million used car and truck tires from landfills, conserves billions of gallons of water by reducing the need to irrigate, and avoids the use of pesticides and fertilizers.
What options are available to avoid the landfill?
Here is a list of viable reuse and recycling options for crumb rubber:
What other infill options are available?
Other infill materials include silica sand, Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM), Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE), and organic infills, which are noted in the STC’s Suggested Guidelines for the Essential Elements of Synthetic Turf Systems, here: http://www.syntheticturfcouncil.org/?page=Technical_Guidelines
Additionally, synthetic turf sports systems with shock pad underlayment provide unique benefits and require significantly less infill material.
How can I learn more about crumb rubber?
Please visit the STC website for independent and science-based research, technical guidelines, case studies, test results, news releases, and glossary of terms, here: http://www.syntheticturfcouncil.org/page/Resource_Center.
The STC represents companies who consult, design, install, test, maintain and reclaim synthetic turf sports systems, as well as manufacturers and suppliers of related materials and equipment. To search for a product or service, please visit the Buyers' Guide and Member Directory to find member companies that meet your synthetic turf needs: http://stc.officialbuyersguide.net/
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