A Review of the Potential Health and Safety Risks from Synthetic Turf Fields Containing Crumb Rubber Infill
New York, NY (Vocus) April 30, 2009
The studies continue to roll in and the results remain the same. Synthetic turf poses no adverse health effect. TRC Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRR), an engineering, consulting, and construction management firm that provides integrated services to the environmental markets, was contracted by the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to conduct an air quality survey to investigate the potential release of contaminants from crumb rubber synthetic turf fields and the potential exposures in the breathing zones of young children to those airborne contaminants.
The testing was done under severe conditions to ensure conclusive and irrefutable results. The air quality survey (AQS) consisted of air sampling for a suite of SVOCs (PAHs and benzothiazole), VOCs, metals and particulate matter at two outdoor crumb rubber athletic fields in New York City.
The results of the survey revealed:
- There was no consistent pattern to indicate that detected VOCs were associated with synthetic turf
- None of the 17 PAHs tested were detected in any of the ambient air samples
- Benzothiazole was not detected in any of the air samples, including background samples
- Of 10 metals tested, two were detected in the ambient air samples. Only one of these metals, however, was detected in the ambient air samples collected from the synthetic turf fields. Similar concentrations were found in both the grass field and upwind samples.
The NYC DOHMH Air Quality Survey Report assessing air levels of various contaminants over synthetic turf fields can be viewed at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/eode/turf_aqs_report0409.pdf
Substantial focus has been given to possible environmental effects associated with the installation of synthetic turf athletic fields, and some parties have suggested that insufficient data has been collected to reach a conclusion regarding possible detrimental health effects. The DOHMH study addresses this question as follows:
The following is an excerpt from the conclusion of the study pertaining to air quality:
"The purpose of this AQS was to investigate the potential release of contaminants from crumb rubber synthetic turf fields and the subsequent potential exposures in the breathing zones of young children to those airborne contaminants. Very few constituents were detected in the air samples taken above the fields…There was no consistent pattern to indicate that the constituents were associated with the synthetic turf… In summary, an analysis of the air in the breathing zones of children above synthetic turf fields do not show appreciable impacts from COPCs contained in the crumb rubber. Therefore, a
risk assessment was not warranted from the inhalation route of exposure."
This is not the first time the DOHMH has contracted TRC to study the health effects of synthetic turf fields. In 2008, TRC released a report titled "A Review of the Potential Health and Safety Risks from Synthetic Turf Fields Containing Crumb Rubber Infill". An increased risk for human health effects as a result of ingestion, dermal or inhalation exposure to crumb rubber contaminants of potential concern was not identified by the review.
FieldTurf offers industry leading engineering and manufacturing resources, unparalleled leasing and financing capabilities, and leads the synthetic turf industry with regard to setting higher environmental standards. FieldTurf is the global market leader in terms of synthetic sports fields with over 3000 fields installed. Additionally, FieldTurf has attained over 12,000 satisfied customers in high quality pet, residential, commercial and municipal landscaping solutions, playground surfacing, and has a complete range of golf and tennis products. FieldTurf synthetic turf customers enjoy the benefits of significantly reduced water consumption, the elimination of fertilizer and pesticides, superior durability and drainage and a product that looks and feels real. The positive environmental impact of FieldTurf provides the added benefit of LEED building contributions.
FieldTurf is part of Tarkett Sports, a Division of the Tarkett Group. Tarkett Sports is the largest entity in the sports and landscape surfacing industries. Included within the Tarkett Sports portfolio is an impressive range of performance sports flooring products. This product range includes: synthetic and hardwood basketball; volleyball and gymnasium flooring; squash and racquetball courts; floor protection and covering systems; weight room flooring; and high performance indoor and outdoor running tracks, featuring Beynon track surfaces. All Tarkett Sports surfaces are developed, produced and installed with a concentration on sustainability and a commitment to protecting the environment, providing additional LEED contribution opportunities for customers. The company calls this focus on sustainability and the environment 'Environmental Intelligence' and all company personnel strive to exemplify this philosophy in all aspects of the business.