Synthetic Turf Wars: A Crumb Rubber Human Health Risk Assessment

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Background: Crumb rubber (CR) is a recycled product generated from automotive and truck scrap tires and produced with a granulated consistency, often treated with several chemicals before being spread into the environment. It is often found on athletic artificial/synthetic turf fields and children’s playgrounds. Current studies have established that there is no correlation between CR exposure and non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic health effects. However, other research has found hazardous substances within CR. No matter the case, concerns among the general public continue to grow about the health risks of CR, most notably regarding soccer player, specifically goalkeeper, populations.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the level of health risk CR poses to exposed human populations, particularly individuals 6-21 years old.

Methods: A human health risk assessment (HHRA) was conducted in four phases with an initial planning phase: 1) hazard identification, 2) dose-response assessment, 3) exposure assessment, and 4) risk characterization.

Results: This study examined 115 chemicals of potential concern (COPCs). Intake dose (ID), lifetime average daily dose (LADD), reference dose (RfD), reference concentration (RfC), oral slope factor (OSF), inhalation unit risk (IUR), hazard quotient (HQ), excess lifetime cancer risk (ELCR), hazard index (HI), and total cancer risk (TCR) were analyzed.

Discussion: Average combined HQ and ELCR was not statistically significant. Therefore, health effects may not be observed in individuals 6-21 years old when chronically exposed to CR. There is uncertainty if COPCs pose a health risk when concentrations are increased.



Crumb rubber, Human health risk assessment, Synthetic turf