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Pallone Urges Congress to Examine Safety of Turf Fields

October 2, 2015
Press Release

“In the Absence of Definitive Information on Crumb Rubber, Our Children Cannot be the Guinea Pigs”

WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued the following statement urging Committee Republicans to prioritize hearings that examine the safety of turf fields.  Last year, Pallone requested that the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) evaluate the potential health risks that crumb rubber poses to those that come into regular contact with turf fields:

“Crumb rubber is known to contain potentially hazardous chemicals, but there is no clear information about how exposure to this product affects our health.  And yet, we send our young kids off to soccer practice and football practice to play on turf fields lined with this substance. 

“The fact that crumb rubber has become so prevalent and that we still know so little about potential health risks it poses is troubling.  In the absence of definitive information on crumb rubber, our children cannot be the guinea pigs.  More research and assessment must be done so that parents and players have the answers they need.

“Last October, I requested a study be done to examine what effects exposure to the chemicals in crumb rubber may have on athletes who play on turf fields and come into contact with crumb rubber on a regular basis.  I also asked that more research be done to determine whether repeated exposure to crumb rubber increases the risk of lymphoma, leukemia and other blood cancers.

“A year later, we still do not have any answers, and that is unacceptable.  In the absence of federal action, states are moving ahead with studies and legislation.  States have been forced to lead the way on so many chemical risks, from microbeads to flame retardants, because our federal chemical regulatory program is not working.  But adoption of different standards in different states will not provide parents and athletes with the peace of mind they deserve. 

“It is clear that more data is needed to evaluate the risks that exist from exposure to crumb rubber in athletic turf and its effect on human health.  Congress has a responsibility to do more, and we must.   I urge Committee Republicans to prioritize this and schedule hearings to finally examine the safety of turf fields.”