Artificial turf from recycled tires poses low chemical-exposure risk, report finds

1 March 2017

A European Union report says that there is "at most, a very low level of concern from exposure to recycled rubber granules" in artificial sports fields, allaying fears about chemicals present in the rubber.

The report published Tuesday by the European Chemicals Agency says that based on current evidence, it "has found no reason to advise people against playing sports on synthetic turf containing recycled rubber granules."

Late last year, Dutch researchers reached a similar conclusion, following an investigation triggered by fears over chemicals found in the rubber crumbs, which are usually made from old tires.

In 2007, Ohio State University installed an artificial turf in Ohio Stadium that uses recycled rubber granules in its infill layer. Other central Ohio universities also have this kind of artificial turf in their stadiums, and it's a popular option at area high schools, as well.

Among the local high schools that have replaced the grass in their football stadiums with turf are Bexley, DeSales, Grandview, New Albany, Olentangy Liberty, Olentangy Orange, Thomas Worthington, Upper Arlington and all three Dublin schools (Coffman, Jerome and Scioto).

The European report says that by 2020 an estimated 21,000 full-size playing fields and about 72,000 mini fields will be in use throughout the EU.