Industry lines up response to tire-granulate proposals

Industry reaction to proposals for new limits on the PAH-content of sports- and play-surface materials

London – Industry groups have reacted with a mix of caution and positivity to the joint Dutch RIVM/European Chemical Agency (ECHA) proposals  for tighter limits on the content of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in rubber granulate.

The issue is a critical one for both tire manufacturers and recyclers, not least because synthetic turf and other playing surfaces represent about half of the market for recycled tire rubber.

And crucially, new restrictions could raise undue public concern about the safety of these products – even though the background science rates the health-risk posed by PAH migration as negligible.

Understandably so, the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers’ Association (ETRMA) said the industry needs proper time for assessment before issuing comments on the proposals.

“ETRMA will prepare itself for the consultation that will be launched later in September,” the association’s secretary general Fazilet Cinaralp commented in a written statement to ERJ.

On behalf of the Tyre Recovery Association, Peter Taylor said: ‘’ The UK industry generally welcomes these proposals and has taken a lead in initiating its own voluntary quality standards and wider testing programme which further limit PAH volumes.’’

Representing end-product suppliers, the Synthetic Turf Council (STC) said it supported “all additional scientific-based testing to ensure the safety of those who play on our products.”

“We are carefully reviewing the RIVM proposal and will be providing comments via the public comment process,” STC added in a written statement to ERJ.

There was also support from recycler Genan Holding A/S, which has an in-take capacity of 275 kilotonnes per annum across four European plants – 75% of output is rubber.

“Genan welcomes the initiative for a pan-European set of rules applying to rubber infill and mulches for artificial turf,” said group CEO, Poul Steen Rasmussen.

The European Tyre Recycling Association (ETRA) also intends “to actively take part [in the consultation] with the aim of contributing to the process to bring clarity and certainty,” president Ettore Musacchi said in a statement to ERJ.

“ETRA and its team will continue to work in close cooperation with scientific bodies and other organisations on this dossier and will follow closely all the steps of the procedure of revision,” he added.

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