Artificial ground surfaces (pitches) containing recycled rubber tyre crumb have been used for a range of sports and other recreational uses for several decades. However, concern has been raised over the potential link between the use of these artificial pitches and a range of adverse health outcomes, particularly cancers. Much of the concern relates to chemical substances potentially contained within the rubber granulate infill.
A number of reviews have been conducted of the potential health impacts of tyre crumb in sports pitches (Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Radium Hospital 2006, New York State Department of Health 2009, Washington State Department of Health 2017). Two of the most significant and recent reviews of the chemical risks posed by rubber infill to human health have been published by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA, 2017) and the National Institute for Public Health in the Netherlands (RIVM, 2017).
Health Protection Scotland (HPS) has considered the findings of these reviews in order to assess the evidence on the potential health impacts of rubber tyre crumb used in artificial ground surfaces.