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PRESS RELEASE                       For Immediate Release

October 2014                               TPI Public Relations Manager


NBC Nightly News Poses the Question –

How Safe is the Artificial Turf Your Child Plays On?

KOMO-TV in Seattle, Washington reported –

Soccer coach: Could artificial turf be causing cancer?


The NBC Nightly News broadcast of Wednesday, October 8 and the follow-up story on Thursday, October 9 stirred up considerable attention and concern regarding the safety of tire crumb rubber being used on artificial turf athletic surfaces across the U.S. and around the world.

The NBC report focused on the University of Washington’s Soccer Coach, Amy Griffin, who began to ask serious questions about the material used on artificial fields, her main concern: the crumb rubber made from shredded tires that’s used on fields all over the world.

In the report, Griffin reports she has compiled a list of 38 American soccer players — 34 of them goalies – who have been diagnosed with cancer. At least a dozen played in Washington, but the geographic spread is nationwide. Blood cancers like lymphoma and leukemia dominate the list.

NBC reported that environmental advocates want the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Product Safety Commission to take a closer look at crumb rubber. While both the CPSC and the EPA performed studies more than five years ago, both agencies recently backtracked on their assurances the material was safe, calling their studies “limited.” But while the EPA told NBC News in a statement that “more testing needs to be done,” the agency also said it considered artificial turf to be a “state and local decision,” and would not be commissioning further research.

NBC wasn’t the only one that addressed this concern. Back in June of this year, KOMO-TV, an ABC affiliate in Seattle, Washington did a report on Griffin’s concern. It presented much of the same information. They reported that what triggered Griffin’s concern was a list she compiled that indicated 13 players from Washington had all been diagnosed with rare types of cancer. Of those 13, 11 came from an even smaller pool of players: goal keepers.

In the KOMO report Griffin comments, “Everyone says it’s just a coincidence and kind of walks away, but the ratio of goal keepers to field players is 15 to 1, 16 to 2, and I know plenty of goal keepers that have cancers and I don’t know many field players.”

NBC made it clear that “no research has linked cancer to artificial turf. Griffin collected names through personal experience with sick players, and acknowledges that her list is not a scientific data set. But it’s enough to make her ask whether crumb rubber artificial turf, a product that has been rolled out in tens of thousands of parks, playgrounds, schools and stadiums in the U.S., is safe for the athletes and kids who play on it. Others across the country are raising similar questions, arguing that the now-ubiquitous material, made out of synthetic fibers and scrap tire — which can contain benzene, carbon black and lead, among other substances — has not been adequately tested. Few studies have measured the risk of ingesting crumb rubber orally.”

NBC also reported, “That today, according to figures from the Synthetic Turf Council, more than 11,000 synthetic turf sports fields are in use in the U.S. Most of them are crumb rubber. Crumb rubber infill is also used in children’s playgrounds across the country.”

It’s worth noting that back in June/July of 2011 the TPI E-Newsletter addressed a related concern in a 6-page story titled, “Is artificial turf hiding an 800 pound gorilla?” in which nearly 20 research studies and/or reports expressed similar concerns about health safety and cancer.

The TPI Newsletter can be viewed at:

These stories suggest, if nothing else, that there is a need for serious, impartial and in-depth research related to these concerns. The Lawn Institute, a not-for-profit corporation created to support research and education about methods to improve lawns and sports turf, is currently soliciting research grant proposals and encourages qualified researchers interested in studying this issue further to submit funding requests by visiting

In the meantime, parents, young children, student athletes and professional athletes can do little more than wait for conclusive evidence to materialize – one way or the other.

The reports can found at: and








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