ECHA: Keep playing on synthetic turf fields

crumb-rubber-infillOn Tuesday, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) issued a new report that “found no reason to advise people against playing sports on synthetic turf containing recycled rubber granules as infill material.”

A letter from the Synthetic Turf Council summarized the study, referring back to June of last year when the European Commission asked the ECHA to evaluate any risk to the general population, including children, professional players and workers installing or maintaining the synthetic turf fields infilled with recycled crumb rubber. According to the letter, the ECHA found that “the concern for players and workers for lifetime cancer is very low, for metals is negligible, and for phthalates, benzothiazole and methyl isobutyl ketone there are no concern.” The study’s results are consistent with those found in the recent National Institute for Public Health and the Environment’s Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (Netherlands) and Washington State studies.

Synthetic turf and crumb rubber by the numbers

  • By 2020, it is estimated that 21,000 full-size pitches and about 72,000 minipitches will exist in the European Union.
  • Based on industry estimates, the quantity of crumb rubber infill used on European sports fields is about 80,000 to 130,000 tons per year.
  • There are over 5,000 synthetic turf pitches in the United Kingdom.
  • Crumb rubber granules are by far the most common form used in synthetic turf installations in the European Union. In some EU countries, crumb rubber is used in over 95% of all fields.

Rubber granules used in artificial turf continue to be investigated in the EU and elsewhere. The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency is expected to produce its report on “Recycled Tire Crumb Used on Playing Fields” in late 2017.

About Act Global
Act Global is a world leader in synthetic turf technology, with manufacturing facilities on three continents and sales in more than 80 countries. The company carries a full range of products for sports (Xtreme Turf, UBU and Xtreme Grass), landscaping (Xtreme Lawn), aviation (AvTurf) and land reclamation (LiteEarth). Act Global’s UBU brand is known for providing “Ground Gear for Athletes” to 19 NFL fields and numerous colleges. Venues that have utilized turf with the UBU brand include MetLife Stadium, Paul Brown Stadium, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, U.S. Bank Stadium and NRG Stadium. Act Global is also a FIFA Preferred Producer for Football Turf, Synthetic Turf Council Certified Manufacturer, World Rugby Preferred Turf Producer, FIH Preferred Supplier, and holds ISO 9001 Certification. To learn more about Act Global visit

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