US EPA Issues Crumb Rubber Characterisation Report Part I

Crumb Rubber

The US Environmental Protection Agency has issued the first of a two part characterisation of crumb rubber used in artificial turf. The report makes no health advisories, and is simply setting the characteristics to be found in crumb rubber and how it performs in the environments in which it is used.

The US EPA has Produced a Crumb Rubber Characterisation Report in Two Parts

The key points to be taken from the report are:

  • EPA is releasing a new report that addresses exposure (that is, chemicals and how people come in contact with these) to tyre crumb rubber on synthetic turf fields. This report is not a risk assessment, nor can the information be used to identify a level above which health effects could occur.

  • In general, the findings from the report support the premise that while chemicals are present as expected in the tyre crumb rubber, human exposure appears to be limited based on what is released into air or simulated biological fluids.

  • Only Part 1 is being released today. Part 2 is to be released at a later date. When combined, Part 1 and Part 2 will not constitute a risk assessment.

  • Part 1 of this report presents results of the tyre crumb rubber characterisation research (i.e. what is in tyre crumb rubber).

  • The scope of this study was finalised, and the work initiated in 2016 at the request of the Obama Administration.

Documents included are:

Tire Crumb Characterisation Report (Volumes 1 and 2)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxics Substances and Disease Registry (CDC/ATSDR) have released the Synthetic Turf Field Recycled Tire Crumb Rubber Characterization Research Final Report: Part 1 -Tire Crumb Rubber Characterization.This report is part of the Federal Research Action Plan (FRAP) on Recycled Tire Crumb Used on Playing Fields and Playgrounds, a multi-agency research effort by EPA, CDC/ATSDR, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to characterise the chemicals associated with tyre crumb rubber and to identify the ways in which people may be exposed to those chemicals based on their activities on synthetic turf fields and playgrounds. The Part 1 Tire Crumb Rubber Characterization Research Report from EPA and CDC/ATSDR summarises results for the physical, chemical, and microbiological characterisation for tyre crumb rubber used on synthetic turf fields. The Part 1 report is being released in two volumes; Volume 1 contains the body of the report; Volume 2 contains the appendices.

Spreadsheet with Bacterial Non-Targeted Analysis Results

The tyre crumb characterisation research effort included collecting tyre crumb rubber from synthetic turf fields to assess microbial populations. Both targeted and non-targeted approaches were used in the assessment. The non-targeted assessment approach included collecting a total of 280 samples from 40 synthetic turf fields which were examined to characterize the microbial community by analysis of the 16S rRNA gene. Collectively, these samples contained 1424 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) or unique bacterial taxa. Classification of these unique taxa was performed using the Ribosomal Database Project Classifier (Michigan State University, Lansing, MI, USA) to the lowest taxonomic level possible. The OTUs that contribute 90% of the total 16S rRNA gene sequence reads and their count for each synthetic turf field sample, along with their taxonomic classification, is listed in an Excel database that is available here.

Spreadsheet with Toxicity Reference Information

Toxicity reference information was compiled for the potential tyre crumb rubber chemical constituents identified in the State-of-Science Literature Review/Gaps Analysis, White Paper Summary of Results. Eleven sources of publicly available toxicity reference information were searched. An Excel spreadsheet database was developed that cross-references chemicals in the list of potential tyre crumb constituents with toxicity reference data from these eleven sources. 

Tire Crumb Characterization Study: Field Collection and Laboratory Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) Report

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) for sample and data collection and laboratory analysis of tyre crumb rubber used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were compiled in an EPA report Tire Crumb Characterization Study: Field Collection and Laboratory Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The purpose of this document is to publish the various methodologies used by EPA for the sample collection and characterisation research activities associated with examining tyre crumb rubber material used as infill for synthetic turf fields. While the research-level SOPs detailed in this report are specific to this research effort and have not been validated, they are being made available to provide additional information about the procedures used in this research, and to inform other researchers seeking to collect similar samples and perform multimodal characterization of tire crumb rubber material or similar matrices.

Synthetic Turf Field Recycled Tire Crumb Rubber Research Under the Federal Research Action Plan - Final Report Part 1 - Volume 1 (PDF)(334 pp, 13 MB, July 25,2019, EPA/600/R-19/051.1)

Synthetic Turf Field Recycled Tire Crumb Rubber Research Under the Federal Research Action Plan - Final Report Part 1 - Volume 2 (PDF)(456 pp, 22 MB, July 25, 2019,EPA/600/R-19/051.1 )

Spreadsheet with Bacterial Non-targeted Analysis Results.xlsx(176 K, July 25, 2019)

Spreadsheet with Toxicity Reference Information.xlsx(254 K, July 25, 2019)

Tire Crumb Characterization Study - Field Collection and Laboratory Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) (PDF)(508 pp, 8 MB, July 25, 2019, EPA/600/R-18/238)

About the author

Ewan has been editor of Retreading Business since 2006 and of Tyre & Rubber Recycling since the magazine was founded. During this period he has become an expert on the global tyre recycling sector. He has many years' experience as an automotive journalist including a period at Tyres & Accessories.

 

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