Artificial Turf & Tire Crumbs

Artificial turf manufactured from tire crumbs has been used in thousands of athletic fields and playgrounds in the U.S. However, concerns are growing that toxic chemicals contained in this material could contribute to the development of cancer, especially lymphoma and leukemia.

Tire Crumb Cancer Lawsuits

Bernstein Liebhard LLP is investigating potential lawsuits involving tire crumb exposure and cancer. If you or a loved one played soccer, lacrosse or any other sport on a synthetic turf field, and were later diagnosed with leukemia or lymphoma, please call (888) 994-5118 to obtain a free, no-obligation legal review of your case.

Artificial Turf and Cancer

While synthetic playing fields have been around since the 1960s (Astroturf), artificial turf made from tire crumb was not introduced until the 2000’s. Also known as crumb rubber, this substance is produced from recycled tires. Once the rubber is reduced to tiny granules, the resulting tire crumbs are used to infill fake blades of grass. It is now estimated that most of the 11,000 synthetic turf athletic fields being used in the U.S. contain crumb rubber. Tire crumb is also used in many playground surfaces throughout the country.

Tire crumb can contain a number of chemicals, some of which are toxic and carcinogenic. These include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and heavy metals (lead, zinc, iron, and manganese).

In 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a study to determine if artificial turf made with tire crumb posed a health hazard.  Though the study only looked at four synthetic playing fields, the agency concluded that the toxic chemicals contained in crumb rubber were of “low concern.” However, in 2016 the EPA stated that it could no longer stand by those findings, and announced a new study of crumb rubber artificial turf.

Amy Griffin’s Investigation

Several years ago, former top soccer player Amy Griffin became alarmed by a “stream of kids” who had become ill after playing soccer on artificial fields. Between 2009 and 2016, Griffin’s informal investigation identified 220 athletes who had been diagnosed with cancer after playing on athletic fields containing crumb rubber. Lymphoma was the most common diagnosis, followed by leukemia. More than 160 of the individuals tracked by Griffin were soccer players, including 102 goalies. Soccer goalies are more likely to be exposed to crumb rubber, as they spend more time on the ground compared to their teammates. Most of the athletes who became ill were born in the late-1980s to mid-1990s and were playing around the time that artificial turf fields became more common.

“I am not making any claims about what is happening with these players,” Griffin told The Huffington Post. “But this problem isn’t fading. It’s going the other way.”

Contact an Attorney Today

You may be eligible to file a lawsuit if you or a loved one were diagnosed with cancer potentially related to artificial turf made from tire crumb. If you are interested in pursuing such a claim, please call (888) 994-5118 to contact an attorney today.

  1. EPA (2016) “Federal Research on Recycled Tire Crumb Used on Playing Fields”
  2. Huffington Post (2016) “Worries Mount Over Potential Link Between Artificial Turf And Cancer”
  3. NBC News (2015) “Mom of Goalie Who Died of Cancer Wants Answers on Artificial Turf “
  4. NBC News (2016) “Feds Finally Take Action on Crumb Rubber Turf”
Last Modified: November 17, 2016

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