Crumb rubber group wants more studies

The Safe Fields Alliance (SFA), an advocacy group for the crumb rubber synthetic turf industry, said it agrees with both environmental groups and industry officials that the federal government should perform further safety studies on synthetic turf.

“We join the chorus of voices calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission to take a stand,” the SFA said Oct. 1. Its statement came the day after NBC News broadcast the first part of its update on a story it reported last year about the controversy surrounding the health effects of synthetic turf made from recycled tires.

The Sept. 30 story said that Amy Griffin, women’s soccer coach at the University of Washington, had uncovered 63 cases of young soccer goalkeepers who developed various types of cancer after playing for years on synthetic rubber turf. Fifteen of the young people died.

The story showed EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy declining to answer questions on whether her agency would study synthetic turf further. It stated that current studies show no correlation between synthetic turf and cancer, but also quoted experts as saying that further study was warranted.

“In our view, scientific studies analyzed by independent third parties that hold up under peer review from qualified toxicologists are the best antidote for uncertainty,” the SFA said.

The alliance said it felt the deepest sympathy for the young cancer victims. However, the studies showing synthetic rubber turf to be safe number in the dozens, it claimed.

“More research can always be done, and we are willing to support any additional scientific studies in any way we can,” the SFA said. “However, it should be pointed out that over a decade of research has not produced a single published, peer-reviewed study that shows that crumb rubber is unsafe.”

The SFA has archived a collection of relevant studies. Click here for access.