A federal investigation is on its way to study the potential health risk artificial rubber turf used on synthetic fields can have on people. The federal study, approve by the Obama administration, seeks to find any connection between the exposure to recycled tire materials in sports fields and cancer.

According to Reuters, three federal agencies will be responsible for the study, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Three Federal agencies will work together to study the adverse health effects of consistent contact with rubber turf after about 200 athletes were diagnosed with cancer. Image: Rune Mathisen/Wikipedia

The study is necessary to protect kids and young athletes

The study will focus on the crumb rubber turf and the negative effects it may produce on people exposed to it for long periods of time. The rubber crumbs are usually encountered in any synthetic fields across the U.S. It’s also spread on playing fields, allowing better traction and cushion for playing sports. Soccer players, football players and anybody who plays sports on artificial fields is exposed to this material often enough to make them vulnerable.

According to EPA spokesperson Laura Allen, the study will include a technical team of almost 50 federal employees as well as a $2 million budget. As this rubber crumb turf is commonly used nationwide in fields and playing areas for kids, it’s important to determine whether this material is harmful to people or not.

Lead is dangerous for the blood

Lead levels high enough to potentially harm children have been found in artificial turf used at thousands of schools, playgrounds, and day-care centers across the country, USA Today reported in March of last year.

Although the link between crumb rubber turf and cancer has not been found yet, there’s a case worthy of attention. In 2015, a soccer coach from the University of Washington released a list of young athletes who played on artificial turf fields and were recently diagnosed with cancer. The soccer coach stated that 38 American soccer players had been diagnosed with the disease.

The list contains 38 young athletes of which 34 are goalkeepers, which are the players that spend most of the time on the ground. According to a publication by Forbes Magazine, blood cancers like lymphoma and leukemia lead the list of cancer diagnosed patients.

Athletes exposed to artificial turf have been diagnosed with cancer

The list of athletes diagnosed with cancer includes more than 200 people nationwide, soccer being the most popular sport in the matter. The surface on turf fields, although it provides traction and cushion for players, it also gets crumb rubber turf into player’s mouths, ears, and clothing.

The study aims to determine what chemicals are in crumb rubber and how people can be exposed to them. Still, people will have to wait until the further research is done by the federal agencies to know the risks of playing in synthetic fields.

Source: Forbes