Report: Chance of Children Getting Cancer from Synthetic Fields ‘Less Than One in a Million’

Alarmists who have been saying crumb rubber infill in synthetic turf fields is carcinogenic – well, they just lost the battle yet again.

According to an article published this week in Washington State’s Herald newspaper, a new study concludes that tests conducted of crumb rubber sports fields in five cities, including the Everett Boys &Girls Club, found that the cancer risk for children playing on the fields was “at or below one in a million.”

That finding was part of a new study conducted by Maryland-based Jenkins Environmental Inc.

The company oversaw a nearly $200,000 project to study the fields’ safety, requested by the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation in Baltimore.

Fields tested were located in Everett, Washington; Baltimore, Maryland; Newport News, Virginia; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and Hartford, Connecticut. All were synthetic fields.

It is worth noting that in concluding children’s risk of getting cancer for playing on the fields was so low, the report had actually assumed children would be on the fields far more than the average youngster – basing its conclusions on exposure to artificial turf fields for one to two hours per day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year. (Most children, outside of those in high-level developmental programs, likely do not spend as much time on the field.)

Since a TV news report in 2014 tried to establish a link between fields and childhood cancer, numerous studies have been conducted by public health officials both nationally and internationally, private foundations, manufacturers of field surface products and more. All have failed to find a link to any form of cancer. In fact, the Synthetic Turf Council provides a comprehensive listing of such reports.

A national investigation of the possible health effects of playing on crumb rubber fields is now underway, conducted by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

ASBA has continued to cover this issue, and will keep its members informed.

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