Federal Research Action Plan on Recycled Tire Crumb Used on Playing Fields and Playgrounds

Background

Concerns have been raised by the public about the safety of recycled tire crumb used in playing fields and playgrounds in the United States. Limited studies have not shown an elevated health risk from playing on fields with tire crumb, but the existing studies do not comprehensively evaluate the concerns about health risks from exposure to tire crumb.

Federal Research

Because of the need for additional information, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are launching a multi-agency action plan to study key environmental human health questions. This coordinated federal action includes outreach to key stakeholders, such as athletes and parents, and seeks to fill important data and knowledge gaps, characterize constituents of recycled tire crumb, and identify ways in which people may be exposed to tire crumb based on their activities on the fields. The Federal Research Action Plan includes numerous activities, including research studies. While additional research questions may require evaluation beyond this year, the information will help answer some of the key questions that have been raised.

Objectives

The specific objectives of this research effort are to:

  • Determine key knowledge gaps.
  • Identify and characterize chemical compounds found in tire crumb used in artificial turf fields and playgrounds.
  • Characterize exposures, or how people are exposed to these chemical compounds based on their activities on the fields.
  • Identify follow-up activities that could be conducted to provide additional insights about potential risks.

Documents and Sources of More Information

Federal Research Action Plan on Recycled Tire Crumb Used on Playing Fields and Playgrounds Status ReportExternal

On Friday, December 30, 2016 the CDC/ATSDR, EPA, and CPSC released a status reportExternal describing the progress of their research to date.

The status report includes the final peer-reviewed Literature Review and Data Gaps Analysis report and describes the progress to date on other research activities that are part of the effort including:

  • Characterization of the chemicals and materials found in tire crumbs.
  • Characterization of the exposure scenarios for those who use turf fields containing tire crumbs.
  • Study to better understand how children use playgrounds containing tire crumbs.
  • Outreach to key stakeholders including states, relevant federal agencies, international government agencies, non-governmental organizations, industry, field users and others that have researched tire crumb or have research underway and/or that can provide expertise to inform the federal study

The December 30, 2016 status report does not include findings. A final peer-reviewed report including findings is expected to be released in the summer of 2017. 

Proposed Data Collection Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations

Some studies that are a part of the Federal Research Action Plan on Recycled Tire Crumb Used on Playing Fields and PlaygroundsExternal are available for public comment through a Federal Register Notice (available at Regulation.Gov). The purpose of the proposed studies is to evaluate and characterize the chemical composition and use of synthetic turf with crumb rubber infill and exposure potential to constituents in crumb rubber infill.  For example, one study in the Federal Register Notice will gather data from facilities with fields that contain tire crumb materials, and another study will gather activity data from persons who routinely perform activities on artificial turf fields with tire crumb. The number of fields that will be sampled as well as the number of field users who will be surveyed are also described in the Federal Register Notice. We encourage you to review the Federal Register Notice and provide your comments. 

For Media Inquiries, please contact envhealthmedia@cdc.gov or 770-488-0700

Page last reviewed: September 26, 2016