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Federal Government Funds Study to Determine Whether Crumb Rubber Turf Causes Cancer

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Federal Government Funds Study to Determine Whether Crumb Rubber Turf Causes Cancer

The federal government is launching a major study into crumb rubber turf and the possibility that it may cause cancer.

Although government health officials and researchers are just now getting involved in research related to crumb rubber turf and cancer, evidence suggesting a link between the artificial turf and higher incidences of cancer has existed for a while. In 2014, several parents of young athletes became concerned about their children playing on fields with potentially harmful material. So the parents, along with other concerned groups, commissioned multiple studies of crumb rubber. One study, conducted by Yale University researchers in summer 2015, raised concerns about the chemicals used in crumb rubber.

What Is Crumb Rubber?

Crumb rubber is made from recycled tires and used to create synthetic turf on sports fields and playgrounds across the United States. In fact, the synthetic material can currently be found on more than 12,000 fields across the country, according to one estimate. Many of these fields are used by young children, generating concern among parents about the adverse health effects of prolonged exposure to crumb rubber turf.

Crumb rubber is a particularly popular type of synthetic turf because it provides added traction for athletes. However, crumb rubber also has a tendency to fall apart, meaning that it often ends up rubbing off on a person’s clothing. Moreover, athletes who play on crumb rubber turf may find the substance smeared across their faces and lodged in their eyes and ears.

A Tri-Agency Study of Crumb Rubber and Cancer

After years of concerns about crumb rubber turf being raised by parents and other concerned individuals, the federal government is finally getting involved. The government has enlisted three agencies – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) – to conduct a tri-agency investigation into crumb rubber turf. According to Elliot Kaye, the CPSC chairman, many of the “best and brightest” scientists in the country will be “working to identify what is in recycled tire crumb, identify ways in which people may be exposed to it, and determine if it is harmful.”

For additional information about research into the negative health effects of crumb rubber turf, read the Capital Berg article, “Investigation into Link between Crumb Rubber Turf and Cancer.”

 

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