The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency are teaming up to closely study the use of artificial grass (astro-turf) and its potentially serious health implications. The turf is made with "rubber crumb," bits of old tires, and has previously drawn some concern about how safe it is for constant use by children. The turf is often used on sports fields and playgrounds, where thousands of kids are exposed to it daily. The concern is that the old tire bits contain harmful chemicals that can increase cancer risk in those who are exposed to the product for long periods of time. No conclusive findings have previously been made and that is the goal of the new federal investigation.
According to the EPA, benzene, mercury, styrene-butadiene,polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and arsenic, among several other chemicals, heavy metals and carcinogens, have been found in tires. Studies have found that crumb rubber can emit gases that can be inhaled.Dec 3, 2014
Artificial Turf: Exposures to Ground Up Rubber Tires - Athletic Fields, Playgrounds, Garden Mulch, Environment And Human Health, Inc.
LABORATORY IDENTIFICATION OF COMPOUNDS RELEASED FROM TIRE CRUMBS AND RUBBER MULCH
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station report (See Appendix I), found out-gassing and leaching from synthetic turf rubber crumbs under aqueous ambient temperatures. Several compounds were present, but four compounds gave the highest responses on GC/Mass spectrographic analysis. The four compounds conclusively identified with confirmatory tests were: benzothiazole; butylated hydroxyanisole; n-hexadecane; and 4-(t-octyl) phenol. Approximately two dozen other chemicals were indicated at lower levels. These chemicals were released in laboratory conditions that closely approximate ambient conditions.
Those chemicals identified with confirmatory analytical studies at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station study have the following reported actions:
- Benzothiazole: Skin and eye irritation, harmful if swallowed. There is no available data on cancer, mutagenic toxicity, teratogenic toxicity, or developmental toxicity.
- Butylated hydroxyanisole: Recognized carcinogen, suspected endocrine toxicant toxicant, gastrointestinal toxicant, immunotoxicant, neurotoxicant, skin and sense-organ toxicant. There is no available data on cancer, mutagenic toxicity, teratogenic toxicity, or developmental toxicity.
- n-hexadecane: severe irritant based on human and animal studies. There is no available data on cancer, mutagenic toxicity, teratogenic toxicity, or developmental toxicity.
- 4-(t-octyl) phenol: corrosive and destructive to mucous membranes. There is no available data on cancer, mutagenic toxicity, teratogenic toxicity, or developmental toxicity.