Artificial ground surfaces (pitches) containing recycled rubber tyre crumb have been used for a range of sports and other recreational uses for several decades. However, concern has been raised over the potential link between the use of these artificial pitches and a range of adverse health outcomes, particularly cancers. Much of the concern relates to chemical substances potentially contained within the rubber granulate infill.
Health Protection Scotland (HPS) has considered the findings recent reviews in order to assess the evidence on the potential health impacts of rubber tyre crumb used in artificial ground surfaces. Within the last year (2017), there have been two significant reviews published, by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the National Institute for Public Health in the Netherlands (RIVM). Neither review has identified evidence to confirm a significant association between exposure to tyre crumb via use of artificial pitches and adverse human health outcomes. These reviews support previous research drawing the same conclusion.
Health Protection Scotland has, therefore, concluded that there is a clear consensus in the findings from evidence published to date, which does not support the hypothesis that exposure to tyre crumb used in artificial surfaces poses a significant risk to human health. Health Protection Scotland will, however, continue to monitor findings from new studies as they are published, and assess the potential impact of new evidence on the current understanding of health risk.