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Pallone Praises Formation of Multi-Agency Action Plan to Get Answers on Crumb Rubber After Repeated Calls for Studies

Feb 12, 2016
Press Release
EPA, CDC, & CPSC to Conduct Comprehensive Study of Tire Crumb in Artificial Turf Fields & Playgrounds

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today praised the formation of a multi-agency action plan to comprehensively examine the safety of crumb rubber used in artificial turf fields and playgrounds.
The action plan announced today will be launched by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).  It will study the effects that exposure to the recycled rubber tire “crumbs,” or crumb rubber, used in artificial turf fields and playgrounds may have on athletes and young children.  To date, this is the most significant action taken at the federal level to investigate the safety of crumb rubber, and Pallone commended the agencies for taking this action.
“Parents who are sending their kids off to play soccer and football on turf fields deserve peace of mind that these fields are safe,” said Pallone.  “Since crumb rubber is found in surfaces in schools and stadiums across the country, we need to be confident that there are no negative effects of crumb rubber, and I’m hopeful this action plan will provide much needed answers about the safety of these fields.”
The agencies will conduct research focusing on evaluating the risk of exposures, identifying the chemical compounds found in crumb rubber, filling important data and knowledge gaps, and engaging stakeholders, such as parents, coaches, athletes, and state agencies to further assess any risks posed.
Last October, Pallone, along with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) and Ranking Member Paul Tonko (D-NY), sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy urging the agency to examine the safety of crumb rubber.  In its response, EPA offered to brief the Committee on the information and science that had been collected so far.
Recently, there have been concerning reports regarding young athletes who have played on synthetic turf athletic fields containing crumb rubber being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and other blood cancers.  Pallone has reiterated that more scientific study is needed to investigate this disconcerting link and is hopeful that this multi-agency action plan will be able to conclusively determine the safety of crumb rubber.
At a hearing last May, Pallone questioned Elliot Kaye, Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), on the risks of crumb rubber in synthetic turf fields.  Based on Chairman Kaye’s response, Pallone was able to conclude that a 2008 statement from CPSC that fields filled with crumb rubber are “OK to install, OK to play on” does not reflect the current views of the Commission.  He also received a commitment that the CPSC would continue its work with federal agencies to review the issue.
Pallone also wrote to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ASTDR) to ask the agency to conduct an official study to examine whether synthetic turf athletic fields increase the risk of lymphoma, leukemia, and other blood cancers.