There have been many questions that have arisen in the past few years that question the safety of crumb rubber or recycled rubber chips, more specifically the loose SBR chips that can be found on Turf fields and Playgrounds. A number of states and associations have conducted tests and released reports to help clear up any misconceptions related to recycled crumb rubber safety. All of the results confirm that surfacing made from crumb rubber is safe for the environment and for the communities that use them. It is unequivocal that exposure to crumb rubber products poses NO risk to adults, children, or pets.
Crumb rubber does not pollute the earth or water tables. It does not contain harmful levels of lead and the material concentrations that make up tire rubber are far below levels that are considered harmful. The EPA performed tests on crumb rubber and published results in December 2009 on their website in an article titled, The Use of Recycled Tire Materials on Playgrounds & Artificial Turf Field. The summary of results stated, “On average, the concentrations of components monitored in this study were below levels of concern.”
Similar conclusions have been established on the international front. In a study on the assessment of health risks from recycled crumb rubber the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Radium Hospital stated, “On the basis of estimated exposure values and the doses/concentrations which can cause harmful effects in humans or in animal experiments, it is concluded that the use of artificial turf halls does not cause any elevated health risk. This applies to children, older children, juniors and adults.” The International Federation of Association Football in Switzerland also states, “Epidemiological studies conducted by the Health Effects Institute, The World Health Organisation and other investigators do not implicate tyre wear particles in ambient air as contributing to human health effects (respiratory and cardiovascular diseases).”
References and Further Reading
Many of the links listed below reinforce what the recycled rubber industry has known for years: our products are not just sustainable for the environment, but also for the health and well-being of all those that come in contact with them. A list of independent study results is available for your review.
Connecticut Study: Artificial Turf No Hazard
The Corporation of Manufacturing Excellence in combination with UC Berkley Study:
Manex and UC Berkley Issue Study on Recycled Rubber in Artificial Turf Applications
EPA Summary of Study – Abridged Version:
EPA Study – Non-Abridged PDF Version:
California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment:
Evaluation of Health Effects of Recycled Waste Tires in Playground and Track Products
Consumer Product Safety Commission:
Sports and Playground Surfaces - No Risk From Tire Crumb
Report Vindicates Montville High School’s Turf Field is safe
Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Radium Hospital:
Artificial turf pitches – an assessment of the health risks for football players
Sports and Play Construction Association (SAPCA), United Kingdom:
The Use of Recycled Rubber in Sports Surfaces
International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), Switzerland:
An Open Letter concerning the potential cancer risk from certain granulate infills from artificial turf
When you choose a recycled rubber floor from ECORE for your next project, you can rest assured; the product you are getting is sustainable and environmentally friendly. ECORE will continue to monitor and examine all issues related to the use and reuse of recycled rubber materials. Check back frequently for updates to this page.