Rubber granules in artificial turf may be harmful after all: university


Rubber granules used in artificial turf may have detrimental health effects after all, according to a study by the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam which will be presented on Zembla on Wednesday. National health institute RIVM stresses that it is too early to draw conclusions from the study, ANP reports.

Researchers from the Vrije Universiteit used zebra fish and zebra fish embryos in this experiment. The fish and embryos were placed in water containing the rubber granules. The embryos died and the fish's behavior changed. Whether the substances in the granules also affect humans is as yet unclear. 

In a previous study the RIVM concluded that it is safe to play sports on artificial turf fields containing rubber granules. That study focused on the PAH's contained in the granules. PAH is a carcinogenic substance. The Vrije Universiteit study also focused on other substances. "Organic materials, not metal. And that can have a toxic effect. This needs to be mapped", head researcher professor Jacob de Boer said.

The rubber granules come from recycled tires. According to the the Tire and Environment Association, the RIVM investigation invalidates the results presented by Zembla. On Wednesday morning the tire industry announced measures to avoid the "standards debate" over rubber granules continuing to "fester", despite numerous studies showing no link between playing on artificial turf and cancer.