French association So Foot et Envoyé Spécial, conducted a survey on the presence of used tyre aggregates in sports fields. Frequented mainly by children, they have a concern based on the PAH content of these pieces of rubber. They claim that standards for the use of tyre aggregates in synthetic grass may have to be changed.
The surveys conducted by So Foot et Envoyé Spécial claim to have forged a link between health problems and synthetic sports floors.
The particles of tyres used as infill are in contact with users of the fields and can impregnate clothing, shoes, hair, etc., according to the report. They further suggest that these materials could be carcinogenic.
Several agencies have, as a result, contacted the French National Agency for Food Safety, Environment and Labor (ANSES) to assess “the risks associated with the use of recycled rubber aggregates, especially in synthetic sports grounds”. , says a statement. “ANSES will study the main routes of exposure for the general population, the population in the workplace” and will report at the end of June.
Aliapur highlights on its website one of the many studies carried out on this subject. In particular that of the 2017 study led by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which has highlighted the benign nature of these products. “On the basis of our evidence, ECHA concluded that the concern for the players on these grounds, including the children, and for the workers who install and maintain them is very low,” says the agency.
It adds that a number of hazardous substances are present in recycled rubber granules “including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals, phthalates, volatile organic hydrocarbons (VOCs) and semi-volatile organic hydrocarbons (COSVs). ). ” But the concentrations of these materials are considered too low in sports coatings to have an impact on health.
Robert Jobard, Managing Director of Sportingols, a sports field builder, admits that “the standards may have to be changed”. Today the PAH concentration limit in tyres is 1000mg / kg while it is 0.5mg / kg in toys. Thus, sports fields are only up to current tyre standards despite the daily attendance of children.
“Our granular and rubber supplier is Tarkett, sourced in-house and all our products are ISO certified and compliant,” he says. “We know that it is consistent in the classification of tyre materials, but not in the classification of toys,” adds Robert Jobard.
For Jobard, several solutions could exist, but “it is a story of price.” The grounds could for example use cork “but it is much more volatile, less resistant to water and it must be replaced every year. It costs about 10,000 € per year”, notes Jobart. “We can also use EPDM which is a granulate manufactured by the rubber industry, it is quick to add, it is also much more expensive.”