WASHINGTON Three U.S. government agencies will
team up to study whether artificial turf fields and playgrounds
that use bits of recycled tires are exposing children to
The Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Product
Safety Commission and the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention announced on Friday they will study the issue, CPSC
Chairman Elliot Kaye said in a statement.
"I am very pleased that we are joining forces to investigate
crumb rubber, as millions of children are exposed to it on
playground surfaces and as infill on playing fields," he said.
Limited studies have not shown an elevated health risk from
playing on fields with the bits of recycled tires, known as tire
crumb, but more comprehensive research is needed, EPA said in a
Artificial turf playing fields have become a popular
alternative to grass fields for their durability, lower
long-term cost and ease of maintenance.
U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Bill Nelson last month
called on the Obama administration to conduct a comprehensive
study on whether crumb rubber poses a health hazard.
In their letter to the White House, the senators cited
research from a University of Washington soccer coach who found
153 reported cases of cancer involving athletes who spent
significant periods of time playing on crumb rubber turf.
"Unfortunately, recent reports indicate that these surfaces
may pose serious health risks, including cancer, to individuals
who come into frequent contact with them," the senators wrote.