July 25, 2019: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the Synthetic Turf Field Recycled Tire Crumb Rubber Characterization Research Final Report: Part 1 -Tire Crumb Rubber Characterization. EPA’s report is available at www.epa.gov/tirecrumb.
Status of CPSC’s review of playgrounds with crumb rubber
As part of the Federal Research Action Plan (FRAP), CPSC conducted a playground use survey gathering information about children’s behavior on playgrounds. This survey has been completed and is currently being reviewed by CPSC staff. A report of the survey findings could be released as early as fall 2019. CPSC will continue its work on playgrounds by conducting a risk assessment of children’s exposure to playground surfaces made of tire rubber. This work will use the CPSC survey as well as data from EPA’s FRAP Part 1 (characterization of the chemicals and materials in tire rubber crumb), released July 25, 2019 and CDC’s (ATSDR) FRAP Part 2 (characterization of potential exposures for those who use turf fields containing tire crumb) after it is released.
Federal Research Action Plan
The public, media, and government agencies have expressed concern that the chemicals in surfaces derived from recycled tires may be hazardous to human health. In February 2016, the Federal Research Action Plan on Recycled Tire Crumb Used on Playing Fields and Playgrounds was announced. This is a multi-agency effort that includes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) performing research that seeks to improve the understanding of potential health effects of recreational exposures to recycled tires. The EPA and CDC are studying the chemical characteristics of recycled tire materials and the exposures on athletic fields. The CPSC is assessing the risk to consumers associated with the use of recycled tire materials in playground surfaces, which will utilize the information from EPA and CDC once the studies are complete.
EPA’s Synthetic Turf Field Recycled Tire Crumb Rubber Characterization Research Final Report: Part 1 -Tire Crumb Rubber Characterization is available at www.epa.gov/tirecrumb.
Advice for Communities Concerned about Playgrounds with Recycled Tire Surfaces
We recognize that communities, parents and state and local officials are concerned about recycled tire materials used in playground surfacing. The study’s findings will provide a better understanding of potential exposures children may experience by using playgrounds with recycled tire surfacing. While this short-term study won’t provide all the answers, the information will help answer some of the key questions that have been raised.
Communities, parents, state and local officials are encouraged to explore Federal Agency websites (CPSC - https://cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Crumb-Rubber-Safety-Information-Center and EPA –www.epa.gov/tirecrumb ) to review the research results available to date on the use of recycled rubber tires for playgrounds and artificial turf fields. In addition, concerned individuals can check their state’s public health agency websites to determine if there are state-specific recommendations.
While no specific chemical hazards from recycled tires in playground surfacing are known by the CPSC at this time, the following precautions to limit exposure are recommended:
- Avoid mouth contact with playground surfacing materials, including mouthing, chewing, or swallowing playground rubber. This may pose a choking hazard, regardless of chemical exposure.
- Avoid eating food or drinking beverages while directly on playground surfaces, and wash hands before handling food.
- Limit the time at a playground on extremely hot days.
- Clean hands and other areas of exposed skin after visiting the playground, and consider changing clothes if evidence of tire materials (e.g., black marks or dust) is visible on fabrics.
- Clean any toys that were used on a playground after the visit.