Eight compounds were found in rubber granules and mulches which are used as infill in artificial sports pitches and playgrounds. European commission introduced some stricter limits to those substances which may cause cancer. The use of granules and mulches from scrap tyres has increased in the last 10 to 15 years, driven partly by a ban on sending tyres to landfills.

The Dutch institute recommended reductions in the legal concentrations of cancer-causing chemicals in the infill material. So, in a 2019 report, ECHA proposed restricting eight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which advised limiting infill material in synthetic pitches and playgrounds to less than 20mg/kg for eight specific PAHs, down from 100mg/kg or 1000mg/kg, which will come into force in August 2022.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared that all eight compounds as cancer-causing as well as skin sensitization and reproductive toxicity.

Andrew Watterson at the University of Stirling, UK, who has written about “artificial turf” says that 300 more chemicals that we haven’t looked at and we are going to prioritize some of these. This also includes various endocrine disruptors and heavy metals.

Industries says that “all these hazardous chemicals are going to be sealed in for at least seven to eight years”. Watterson has some concerns about how long such coatings will last and whether an industry is looking adequately into other ways to recycle tyres and alternative materials to crumb rubber. Based on pragmatism and socioeconomic factors he says the limit is about 20mg/kg.

ECHA followed up all studies that the substances found in granules and mulches aside from PAHs, and identified 300 chemicals and also the criteria to prioritize some of them for further study. As a result, ECHA recommends further assessments on the effect of cobalt and zinc on health, and on the environmental impact of chemicals such as cadmium, bisphenol A, bis (2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), and a range of other chemicals found in artificial turf.

Reference:Europe raises the bar for carcinogens in artificial turf pitches | News | Chemistry World

If this regulation is applicable to you and you are interested in knowing more about this topic and available solutions, then schedule a free consult with our experts.