ECHA Study Finds Recycled Rubber Infill Risks ‘Very Low’

The risk to adults and children using artificial sports fields with recycled rubber infill is ‘very low’, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has concluded. Based on an evaluation requested by the European Commission, the association believes the same applies to workers installing and maintaining such pitches.

“Lifetime cancer risk is very low given the concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) typically measured in European sports grounds,” the study said. Furthermore, the risk posed by metals is ‘negligible’ given “the levels are below the limits allowed in the current toys legislation”.

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Also, the study found the concentrations of PAHs in recycled rubber granules were well-below the limits for carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic (CMR) substances for consumers in REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals).

Despite its evaluation, ECHA highlighted several reservations and suggested several actions. Among those ECHA called on owners and operators of existing fields to measure the concentrations of PAHs and other substances in the rubber granules used in their fields and make the information available to interested parties. Producers of rubber granules should develop guidance to help manufacturers and importers of (recycled) rubber infill test their material. Also, sports associations and clubs should work with the relevant producers to ensure that information related to the safety of rubber granules in synthetic turfs is communicated in a manner understandable to the players and the public. Additionally, owners and operators of existing indoor fields with rubber granule infills should ensure adequate ventilation while players on the surfaces that use recycled rubber granules should take basic hygiene measures after playing, ECHA recommended.

The ECHA’s findings are preliminary ‘and will be updated when new information becomes available.

© Scrap Tire News, April 2017