Amsterdam says no to rubber granules in artificial turf

Amsterdam will not accept rubber granules in new artificial turf fields, no matter what the results of the RIVM investigation into whether or not these granules are hazardous to health. The people have lost confidence in the granules, sports alderman Eric van der Burg said during an emergency debate on the matter on Wednesday, Het Parool reports.

The Dutch capital planned 10 new fields using rubber based artificial turf. But according to the alderman, unrest among the parents of children who will play on these fields are so high that the construction must be halted. He is looking into using coconut or cork based fields. Van den Burg will wait for the results of the RIVM investigation before deciding whether the existing rubber artificial turf fields need to be replaced.

According to the newspaper, Amsterdam has 78 artificial turf football fields that contain rubber granules. The Netherlands has around 2 thousand. 

Health service RIVM is expected to have the results of its investigation into the health risks of rubber granules made from recycled tires by the end of the year. The investigation was launched after a broadcast of Zembla in which experts stated that the rubber granules contain carcinogenic substances which may affect athletes who play on the artificial turf fields.

Tire industry association VACO did its own, separate analysis and found that 58 out of 60 artificial turf fields contain a higher concentration of carcinogenic substances than is allowed by consumer standards. But as artificial turf is not considered a consumer product, it is believed to be safe.