Helsinki, Finland – The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has recently concluded that there is “at most, a very low level of concern” from exposure to recycled rubber granules.
The agency was asked by the European Commission (EC) in June 2016 to evaluate the risk posed by recycled rubber to the general population, including children, professional players and workers who install or maintain synthetic rubber pitches.
In a report on 28 Feb, the ECHA said its study considered a number of ‘hazardous substances’ in recycled rubber granules, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals, phthalates, volatile organic hydrocarbons (VOCs) and semi-volatile organic hydrocarbons (SVOCs).
The Helsinki-based agency said researchers looked into exposure to these substances through skin contact, ingestion and inhalation.
“Based on the information available, ECHA concludes that there is, at most, a very low level of concern from exposure to recycled rubber granules,” the European agency said.
The concern for lifetime cancer risk, it added, is “very low given the concentrations of PAHs typically measured in European sports grounds.”
Additionally, concern from metals is “negligible”, said ECHA, as data indicated that levels are below the limits allowed in the current toys legislation.
Also, the agency saidlevels of phthalates, benzothiazole and methyl isobutyl ketone “are below the concentrations that would lead to health problems.”
The ECHA, however, made a number of suggestions to answer “uncertainties”, including changes to REACH regulation to ensure that rubber granules are “only supplied with very low concentrations of PAHs and any other relevant hazardous substances.”
Additionally, ECHA suggested that owners and operators of existing outdoor and indoor fields should measure the concentrations of PAHs and other substances in the rubber granules used in their fields. They, it added, should make this information “available to interested parties in an understandable manner.”