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Evaluation of health risks of playing sports on synthetic turf pitches with rubber granulate - Scientific background document

Authors:
  • De Milieutafel

Abstract and Figures

New research by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) indicates that the health risk of playing sports on synthetic turf pitches with an infill of rubber granulate is virtually negligible. Therefore, it is considered safe for people to play sports on such pitches. The research was conducted following public concerns prompted by the Dutch TV programme Zembla called ‘Dangerous Play’ in October 2016. RIVM hopes that the results of the research will help to answer questions from ministries, municipalities, sports clubs and parents. To evaluate the health risks of playing sports on rubber granulate, it is important to determine which hazardous substances are contained in the granulate and to what extent they may be released. Subsequently, it should be examined how people playing sports can come into contact with these substances and whether this can lead to health effects. Rubber granulate contains numerous substances, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals, plasticisers (phthalates) and bisphenol A (BPA). These substances were found to be released from the granulate in very low amounts. This is because the substances are more or less ‘enclosed’ in the granulate, which means that the effect of these substances on human health is virtually negligible.
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... This article presents the approach and outcome of the investigation. A detailed account of the methodology and results is published in the scientific background document of the RIVM report 'Evaluation of health risks of playing sports on synthetic turf pitches STPs with rubber granulateʼ [14]. ...
... After sampling, it appeared that the infill of 9 out of 100 pitches (with 3 out of 9 in the subset of 10 pitches) consisted entirely or partly of material other than car tyre rubber. The samples from these pitches were eliminated from the data set, resulting in a total data set of 546 samples (91 pitches × 6 positions), with a subset of 42 samples (7 pitches × 6 positions) [14]. ...
... During the experiment, peristalsis is simulated in both compartments for a total of 4 h at 37°C, upon addition of artificial saliva, gastric and intestinal juices. With headspace analysis, the evaporation of volatile substances was determined following heating of rubber granulate for minimally 6 h at 60°C, using a standard mixture of 65 VOCs as reference [14]. ...
Article
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The presence of carcinogenic substances in rubber granulate made from old car tyres raised concerns that the use of this granulate as infill on synthetic turf pitches may cause leukaemia and lymphoma in young football players and goalkeepers. Limitations in a number of prior studies on the topic casted doubts on their conclusion that it was safe to play sports on such pitches. Rubber granulate samples from 100 Dutch synthetic turf pitches were analysed for 45 (all samples) or 79 substances (a subset). A subset of samples was additionally analysed for migration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), phthalates and metals into sweat and the gastrointestinal tract, and for evaporation of volatile substances into air. Exposure scenarios were developed to estimate the exposure of amateur football players via the oral, dermal and inhalation route to the most hazardous substances in rubber granulate. Risks to human health were assessed by comparing toxicological reference values for these substances with the exposure estimates. A number of carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic substances were present in rubber granulate used on Dutch pitches. No concern was, however, identified for phthalates, benzothiazoles, bisphenol A and the metals cadmium, cobalt and lead, as their exposures were below the levels associated with adverse effects on health. PAHs appeared to be the substances of highest concern, but even they present no appreciable health risk with exposures resulting in additional cancer risks at or below the negligible risk level of one in a million. Our findings for a representative number of Dutch pitches are consistent with those of prior and contemporary studies observing no elevated health risk from playing sports on synthetic turf pitches with recycled rubber granulate. Based on current evidence, there is no reason to advise people against playing sports on such pitches.
... In The Netherlands, a discussion has started regarding the exposure of soccer players to carcinogenic residues from recycled tire rubber granulates when playing on artificial-turf soccer fields. 4 In total 120 tons of rubber granulate is used on one artificial-turf soccer field, and every year, another 300 kg is added to maintain the field. 4 The recycling of rubber tires reduces the overall burden of rubber waste on landfills but by using these rubber granulates on artificial-turf soccer fields they are transferred and reintroduced to a new environment. ...
... 4 In total 120 tons of rubber granulate is used on one artificial-turf soccer field, and every year, another 300 kg is added to maintain the field. 4 The recycling of rubber tires reduces the overall burden of rubber waste on landfills but by using these rubber granulates on artificial-turf soccer fields they are transferred and reintroduced to a new environment. Various studies revealed that rubber granulates contain carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in concentrations up to 20 mg/kg. ...
Article
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Chlorinated paraffins (CPs) are used in various products to improve their physicochemical characteristics. Due to recycling, CPs may end up in "new" recycled products. In this study we investigated CPs present in end-of-life car tires that are recycled to rubber granulates used on artificial soccer fields, and playground tiles. The ∑CP(C10-C30) concentrations ranged from 1.5-67 µg/g in car tires, 13-67 µg/g in rubber granulates, and 16-74 µg/g in playground tiles. MCCPs were the dominant CP group with an average contribution of 72%. LCCPs up to C30, were detected for the first time in car tires, rubber granulates and playground tiles. The CPs application in tires is unclear, the low CP concentrations found in this study (<0.007%) could possibly indicate contamination during the manufacturing process. The presence of CPs in the granulates and tiles, in addition to the multiple chemicals already detected, emphasizes the need to further investigate the migration and leaching behavior, in order to assess potential risks of CPs for humans and the environment. The presence of CPs in car tires may be another source of CPs for the environment. The CP volume brought into the environment by tire wear particles (TWP) from car tires in the European Union, is estimated at 2.0-89 tons annually.
... The quantified MLATS data collected in this study can be used to determine exposures that could negatively affect children's health from playing on surfaces made with rubber crumb. Our average estimated daily incidental ingestion rate (0.08 g/day or 80 mg/day) among children playing on artificial turf is consistent with Peterson et al.'s (2018) rubber crumb ingestion rate (100 mg/day) for children spectating soccer games [2,25,35]. The estimated incidental ingestion rate calculated in this study would likely overestimate the consumption of crumb rubber among children, as some parameters were based on the assumption of soil adherence factors; however, soil particles are smaller than crumb rubber; consequently, ingestion rates for this material are likely lower than soil. ...
Article
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Background: There are growing health concerns about exposure to toxicants released from recycled tire rubber, which is commonly used in synthetic turf and playground mats. To better estimate children's exposure and risk from recycled tire rubber used in synthetic turf and playground mats, there is a need to collect detailed accurate information on mouthing activity and dermal contact behaviors. The objective of this study was to quantify and analyze micro-level activity time series (MLATS) data from children aged 1-12 years old while playing (non-sport-related games) at turf-like locations and playgrounds. Another objective was to estimate the incidental ingestion rate of rubber crumb among children. Methods: Hand and mouth contact frequency, hourly duration, and median contact duration with different objects were calculated for children playing on turf (i.e., parks, lawns, and gardens) (n = 56) and for children playing on playground structures (n = 24). Statistically significant differences between males and females as well as children's age groups were evaluated. The daily incidental ingestion rate of rubber crumb was calculated. Results: For children playing on turf, there were significant differences between younger (1-6 y) and older (7-12 y) children for the mouthing median duration with non-dietary objects and all objects. For children playing on playground structures, we found significant mouthing frequency differences between younger (1-6 y) and older children (7-12 y) with all objects, and for mouthing median duration with non-dietary objects. There were no significant differences between males and females playing on artificial turf-like surfaces or playground mats. Our estimated mean incidental ingestion rate was 0.08, 0.07, and 0.08 g rubber crumb/day for children <2, 2-6, and 6-11 years old, respectively. Discussion: our results suggest that age and contact duration should be considered in risk assessment models to evaluate mouthing activities when children are playing on artificial turf surfaces or playground mats.
... The US EPA & CDC/ATSDR [21] reported levels of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds (VOCs and SVOCs, respectively), and metals, and concluded that the amount of chemical available for exposure was low because of the minimal release of VOCs and SVOCs to the air, and the low bioavailability of metals in saliva and sweat. RIVM concluded that the risk from PAHs, metals, plasticizers (orthophthalates) and bisphenol A was negligible [22]. ...
Article
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Synthetic materials, increasingly used for indoor and outdoor surfaces including homes and playgrounds, may contain toxic chemicals. Infants have a higher potential of exposure to chemicals in these materials, which may pose a risk to their health. To understand potential risks related to outdoor surface coverings, based on a review of the literature and regulations, and to assess levels of hazardous chemicals in surface coverings in Israel. We reviewed the literature and regulations on artificial turf. We tested 46 samples of surfaces for trace metals in synthetic playground surfaces; trace metals, phthalates, and di(2-ethylhexyl) terephthalate (DEHT) in synthetic grass, and phthalates, DEHT and formaldehyde in laminate flooring. Twelve studies reporting high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), and varying levels of trace metals in synthetic playground surfaces were identified, as well as five international regulations on lead with maximum acceptable concentrations in the range 40–500 mg/kg. Surface tests showed that 20 out of 30 samples of synthetic playground surfaces exceeded relevant standards for trace metals, of which five had cadmium levels ≥30 mg/kg and four had chromium levels ≥510 mg/kg. In synthetic grass, three out of eight samples exceeded relevant standards, with lead levels ≥1200 mg/kg. In Laminate flooring (n = 8) formaldehyde levels were in the range of 0.7–1.2 mg/m² formaldehyde, and five samples contained ~5% DEHT. The literature on chemicals in surfaces is limited, but indicates some exceedance of regulatory limits. Trace metals in synthetic playground surfaces and synthetic grass, not regulated in Israel, exceeded relevant international standards in 72% of samples. Laminate flooring, regulated for formaldehyde, did not exceed the 3.5 mg/m² standard, but contained DEHT, a replacement for ortho-substituted phthalates. The results of this preliminary study show that flooring surfaces may be a source of children’s exposure to toxic chemicals. Synthetic surfaces are increasingly being used in, for example, children’s playgrounds and sports fields. Exceedances of regulatory limits from other jurisdictions, of heavy metal levels in most outdoor surfaces sampled in Israel indicates the potential for children’s exposure. Domestic regulations should be implemented to reduce the risk to children from exposure to these surfaces.
... Already under mild conditions of temperature and leaching, the crumb rubber components can be volatilized into the atmosphere and be leached into water (Celeiro et al., 2014(Celeiro et al., , 2018Schneider et al., 2020b [ghi]P, and plasticizers, such as diethyl hexyl phthalate (DEHP) are considered as priority pollutants in surface waters by the European Union (Regulation, 2008/105/EC), whereas other phthalates such as diethyl phthalate (DEP), dimethyl phthalate (DMP), benzylbutyl phthalate (BBP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP), as well as the 16 PAHs are considered as priority substances by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA,). Thus, crumb rubber may constitute a potential chemical hazard for humans and the environment (Oomen and De Groot, 2017;Pronk et al., 2018;Schneider et al., 2020aSchneider et al., , 2020b. ...
Article
Nowadays concern exists about the safety for both football players and the environment of recycled tire rubber used as infill in synthetic turf football pitches. In this study 40 target compounds, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), plasticizers, antioxidants and vulcanization agents were determined in 50 synthetic football pitches of diverse characteristics to estimate environmental risks. This is the first study of crumb rubber sport facilities in Portugal. Analyses were performed by ultrasound-assisted extraction followed by gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UAE-GC-MS/MS). To evaluate the transfer of the target chemicals from the crumb rubber to the runoff water, water leachates collected from several football pitches were analyzed by solid-phase microextraction (SPME-GC-MS/MS). In addition, lab-scale runoff simulation experiments were performed to assess whether a persistent inflow of the target compounds from the football pitches into the runoff water wcould exist. Results revealed the presence of most of the target PAHs in crumb rubber at total concentrations up to 57 μg g-1, next to a high number of plasticizers and vulcanization agents. Runoff water collected from the football pitches contained up to 13 PAHs as well as other chemicals of environmental concern. In addition, continuous leaching of chemicals from the crumb rubber to the surrounding water was demonstrated. The transfer of target chemicals into the runoff water poses a potential risk for the aquatic environment.
... Tread particles (TP) originate from the grinding or abrasion of a tire tread, 7 which include the finely crushed rubber particles made from old car tires that are commonly used in synthetic turf fields. 4 Tire wear particles (TWP) can be released into the environment as a result of the mechanical abrasion of car tires with the road surface. 8 Although rubber is the main constituent of car tires, sulfur and zinc oxide are added during the vulcanization process, black carbon or silica are added as fillers, and oil is added to increase the wet grip performance. ...
Article
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Micronized particles released from car tires have been found to contribute substantially to microplastic pollution, triggering the need to evaluate their effects on biota. In the present study, four freshwater benthic macroinvertebrates were exposed for 28 days to tread particles (TP; 10-586 µm) made from used car tires at concentrations of 0, 0.1, 0.3, 1, 3 and 10% sediment dry weight. No adverse effects were found on the survival, growth and feeding rate of Gammarus pulex and Asellus aquaticus, the survival and growth of Tubifex spp., and the number of worms and growth of Lumbriculus variegatus. A method to quantify TP numbers inside biota was developed and here applied to G. pulex. In bodies and faces of G. pulex exposed to 10% car tire TP, averages of 2.5 and 4 tread particles per organism were found, respectively. Chemical analysis showed that, although car tire TP had a high intrinsic zinc content, only small fractions of the heavy metals present were bioavailable. PAHs in the TP-sediment mixtures also remained below existing toxicity thresholds. This combination of results suggests that real in situ effects of TP and TP-associated contaminants when dispersed in sediments are probably lower than those reported after forced leaching of contaminants from car tire particles.
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The interface between chemicals and waste legislation is a major problem for the envisaged circular economy. To re-use or recycle more waste, information on its composition is needed. The EU Waste Framework Directive obliges producers to document the presence of substances of very high concern in a new database (SCIP), which went online in January 2021. We studied some products of varying complexity and with different pollutant problems from a number of industries. Our investigation indicates that the new database is of limited use for recycling companies. Further requirements focusing on the intended recycling of used products are discussed.
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Recycling end-of-life tires (ELTs) reduces waste and provides a low-cost source of energy and materials such as crumb rubber, used as infill in artificial turf football pitches. However, some concerns were raised and remain about its safety. The potentially toxic human exposure to chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals and others (volatile organic compounds (VOCs), plasticizers, antioxidants and additives) existing in ELTs (and in the resulting crumb rubber) is being studied, with no definitive conclusions. The literature existing so far suggests the possibility of their release from synthetic turf infill into the environment as water leachates and to the air surrounding the pitches, but there is the need of further research, also to assess the contribution of other materials present in synthetic turf. The database available comprised crumb rubber infill studies from pitches in 6 countries (USA, Norway, Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Spain) and revealed a myriad of hazardous chemicals, with benzo[a]pyrene (n.d.–4.31±3.95 mg/kg) and zinc (n.d.–14150±1344 mg/kg) often exceeding the established limits. A dependence on indoor/outdoor conditions and the age of the source material was evaluated, often showing significative differences. From this standpoint, this review is intended to add knowledge about the presence of contaminants in this recycled material, aiming to ensure the safety of end-users and the environment.
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Eight tires were analyzed for 15 high molecular weight (HMW) polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), using pressurized fluid extraction. The variability of the PAH concentrations determined between different tires was large; a factor of 22.6 between the lowest and the highest. The relative abundance of the analytes was quite similar regardless of tire. Almost all (92.3%) of the total extractable PAH content was attributed to five PAHs: benzo[ghi]perylene, coronene, indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene, benzo[e]pyrene, and benzo[a]pyrene. The difference in the measured PAH content between summer and winter tires varied substantially across manufacturers, making estimates of total vehicle fleet emissions very uncertain. However, when comparing different types of tires from the same manufacturer they had significantly (p = 0.05) different PAH content. Previously, there have been no data available for carcinogenic dibenzopyrene isomers in automobile tires. In this study, the four dibenzopyrene isomers dibenzo[a,l]pyrene, dibenzo[a,e]pyrene, dibenzo[a,i]pyrene, and dibenzo[a,h]pyrene constituted <2% of the sum of the 15 analyzed HMW PAHs. These findings show that automobile tires may be a potential previously unknown source of carcinogenic dibenzopyrenes to the environment.
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Exposure was assessed in four facilities where used tires are turned into rubber granulates. Particulate exposure levels were measured using filter samples and gravimetric analysis. In parallel, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) screening was carried out using samples taken on activated carbon supports, followed by an analysis using a gas chromatograph coupled to a spectrometric detector. The exposure level medians are between 0.58 and 3.95 mg m−3. Clogging of the textile fiber separation systems can lead to worker exposure; in this case, the measured concentrations can reach 41 mg m−3. However, in contrast to the data in the literature, VOC levels >1 p.p.m. were not detected. The particulate mixtures deposited on the installation surfaces are complex; some of the chemical agents are toxic to humans. The results of this study indicate significant exposure to complex mixtures of rubber dust. Optimizing exhaust ventilation systems inside the shredders, with a cyclone for example, is essential for reducing the exposure of workers in this rapidly developing sector.
Evaluation of new scientific evidence concerning DINP and DIDP in relation to entry 52 of Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No
ECHA, Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC). Opinion on the ECHA's draft review report on "Evaluation of new scientific evidence concerning DINP and DIDP in relation to entry 52 of Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 (REACH)".
Re-evaluation of human-toxicological maximum permissible risk levels. National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)
  • R A J M C Baars
  • P J C M Theelen
  • J M Janssen
  • M E Hesse
  • M C M Van Apeldoorn
  • L Meijerink
  • M J Verdam
  • Zeilmaker
RIVM, Re-evaluation of human-toxicological maximum permissible risk levels. National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). A.J. Baars, R.M.C. Theelen, P.J.C.M. Janssen, J.M. Hesse, M.E. van Apeldoorn, M.C.M. Meijerink, L. Verdam, M.J. Zeilmaker. RIVM report 711701025