Artificial Turf: Recommendations

EHHI's recommendations on avoiding hazardous exposures to crumb rubber tire infill used in synthetic turf, toddler playgrounds and garden mulch.

There is enough information now concerning the potential health effects from chemicals emanating from rubber tire crumbs to place a moratorium on installing any new fields or playgrounds that use ground-up rubber tires until additional research is undertaken.

Exposures to already installed synthetic turf fields that contain ground-up rubber tire crumbs should be limited, pending the development of additional human exposure information.

Synthetic turf fields should not be used on very warm days, as they can become extremely hot, sometimes reaching 140 degrees F.

People who have a history of asthma or other allergic reactions should be careful when using fields or playgrounds containing ground-up rubber tires until additional information is available to assure that the released materials will not cause allergic reactions.

People who are allergic to latex should be especially careful when using these fields or playgrounds because some rubber tires contain large amounts of latex.

When weighing children’s exposures to ground-up rubber tires, efforts to reduce their exposures over time should be considered.

States should consider a detailed analysis of all health and environmental risk factors from recycled rubber tires in all their proposed uses.

An epidemiological study of health effects, including skin irritation and allergic responses, should be conducted.

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s study shows that ground-up rubber tire mulch increases the potential of zinc toxicity and indicates that it is unsuitable for use in production of nursery plants. Therefore, EHHI is in agreement with this study and others that recommend ground-up rubber tire mulch not be used for gardens.