Belgian research suggests no link to cancer from crumb rubber. However, Zinc is released into the water-course. Supplementary research is suggested.
Belgian Scientist Calls for Calm on Crumb Rubber
According to the Hainaut Mons Sanitary Vigilance laboratory in Belgium, it is time to communicate clearly around the results of different analyses of crumb rubber.
A year after the broadcast of a television programme pointing to the possible risks related to the use of artificial turf by athletes, the news is finally reassuring.
All the analyses undertaken on the sports pitches of the Walloon Region are now completed, and the results are generally positive.
In any case, the conclusion drawn by the laboratory of Hainaut Mons Sanitary Vigilance, which had developed a test protocol, validated by the cabinet of the Minister of Sports Infrastructures at the time, Valerie De Bue (MR).
"75% of the existing pitches in the Walloon region were analysed, and we controlled about 50 of those tests, the rest were provided by other approved laboratories", explains Pol Bouviez, head of the project.
"The quantities of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) detected remain well below the maximum allowable standards of 20 mg/kg. We are generally around 10 mg/kg.
We also analysed the transfer of compounds to the environment in the laboratory, there we have dissolved the famous rubber crumb from synthetic surfaces and have been able to draw conclusions."
It turns out that Zinc is indeed released into the water. "The norm imposed by the Walloon region is very low. However, we do not think there is any reason to worry, because, in comparison, the amount of Zinc released remains below the minimum acceptable standards. I'm a chemist, I'm not a toxicologist or a minister, but I think there's been a lot of noise around this issue. "
Obviously, analyses were needed to clarify the allegations in the programme and reassure people. "But it is high time to communicate transparently on this issue that has caused a lot of turmoil. The reports have been forwarded to Infrasports. From our view, we now advocate clear communication to calm the argument. The protagonists (administrations, land managers, coaches...) must be informed of the results obtained after the implementation of our protocol. It must also be decided if we should stop there or if the analyses must continue based on other parameters. "
The tests have established an output without consequences in terms of zinc release, but which establishes no link, so far, between synthetic fields and the development of cancer.