artificial turf

Groups Respond To Safety Concerns Around Artificial Turf

After a follow-up report on the potential safety concerns of artificial turf aired on national TV last week, several groups came out stating there’s no conclusive evidence that the synthetic surface is dangerous.

A national report on the potential safety concerns of artificial turf has several industry groups coming to the product’s defense.

In a follow-up to an initial report last year, NBC News aired a continued investigation into the debate over crumb rubber artificial turf. The latest report highlighted safety concerns about the black granular material made of shredded car and truck tires that is found within the turf.

“The NBC report cited several chemicals found in crumb rubber as points of concern,” the Safe Fields Alliance (SFA), a coalition of groups including manufacturers of synthetic turf and rubber, said in an official response. “However, this information is misleading without context and without baselines, especially given that we all eat, drink, and breathe trace levels of chemicals in our daily lives.”

The Recycled Rubber Council also issued a response to the NBC report and stated that dozens of academic and government studies have not found a connection between recycled rubber and health issues.

“Our hearts go out to the cancer patients and their families identified in the NBC segment, but we have to look at the facts and the science,” the group noted. “As an industry, we unequivocally stand behind these products and we would not put our children and grandchildren on fields or playgrounds with crumb rubber if they were hazardous.”

Dan Zielinski, senior vice president, public affairs, at the Rubber Manufacturers Association, told Rubber & Plastics News that RMA also believes synthetic turf is safe. He also pointed out that the NBC News report mentioned current studies that show the surface to be safe. Yet, both RMA and SFA support further research on the issue.

“More research can always be done, and we are willing to support any additional scientific studies in any way we can,” SFA said in its statement. “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.”

Advocacy groups such as Environment and Human Health, Inc., and the Safe Healthy Playing Fields Coalition, meanwhile, continue to warn about associated cancer risks of synthetic surfaces.


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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