THE HAGUE (THE NETHERLANDS) – A Dutch government public health organisation says it is safe to play soccer and other sports on artificial turf fields covered in rubber crumbs, following an investigation triggered by fears over dangerous chemicals in the granules.
The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment published a report on Tuesday saying that the health risk from playing on such fields, which are common throughout the Netherlands and elsewhere as low-maintenance alternatives to natural grass, is virtually negligible.
The Dutch soccer association welcomed the findings, saying they gave clarity to sports clubs and players. Many clubs across the Netherlands had stopped playing on rubber crumb fields since a television programme in October raised concerns about health risks.
“The uncertainly about playing soccer on synthetic grass with rubber crumb is gone,” the Royal Netherlands Football Association said in a statement. “Footballers, parents, clubs and the KNVB can move on. The signal is safe.”
The crumbs, usually made from old car tires, give synthetic turf fields properties similar to real grass – they ensure the ball does not bounce too high and make the synthetic fields better suited for sliding tackles. But there are long-held fears that the chemicals in the shredded tires include carcinogens that could find their way into players’ bodies.
The Dutch investigation tested 100 sports fields and studied available scientific literature. The organisation said it also will carefully study American research expected early next year into the fields, which have been in use in the United States for longer than in the Netherlands.
“No indications were found in the available literature of a link between playing sports on synthetic turf fields with an infill of rubber granulate and the incidence of leukemia and lymph node cancer,” the Dutch study said. “No international research has demonstrated this connection.”
It added that chemicals linked to causing such cancers are either not present in the rubber crumb or are present in very small amounts. Tests conducted for the study also showed that chemical substances in the crumb were released in very low quantities.
“This is because the substances are more or less ‘enclosed’ in the granulate, which means that the effect of these substances on human health is virtually negligible,” the report said.
Last October, the Ministry of Education told TODAY that it was monitoring the situation and exploring alternatives after world football governing body FIFA urged an investigation into a flawed Dutch research in 2006 that had declared rubber crumb to be safe. There are an estimated 200 artificial turfs of varying sizes in Singapore of which 140 are in schools.
An MOE spokesman told TODAY the schools synthetic fields are based on Fifas requirements on specification and safety standards, which are applied internationally.
Local sports governing body Sport Singapore (SportSG) also declared artificial football pitches safe to play on, having studied reports that concluded the toxicity levels from the rubber crumb material from the infill are within permissible standards. AGENCIES
Here are 2 feeds found today regarding Holand and Netherland football feeds.
47,5 W C
Id : ARQ NST HD 1
Using PID: 308
MPEG4 HD 4.2.0
CW : 63 8A AD 9A CE 23 33 24
12573 H 7119 3/4 MPEG-4 HD
Provider Arqiva ID- Arqiva HD6