Success Story

EPA Collaborates with California on Tire Crumb Rubber Exposure Research

soccer field stock photo

In 2016 a multi-agency research effort under the Federal Research Action Plan on Recycled Tire Crumb Used on Playing Fields and Playgrounds was launched by the EPA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (CDC/ ATSDR), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to address concerns raised by the public about soccer players and the safety of recycled tire crumb used in playing fields and playgrounds. The research activities represent a collaborative federal effort to increase knowledge and available information about synthetic turf fields by developing exposure information (what is in the material and how people come in contact with the material).

Researchers at the California Environmental Protection Agency Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (CalEPA OEHHA) are also conducting research aimed at reducing data gaps for tire crumb rubber constituents and human exposures. Federal researchers collected tire crumb rubber samples from 9 tire recycling plants and 40 synthetic turf fields across the U.S., and OEHHA collected samples from California. Under a Materials Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), the EPA regularly consults OEHHA scientists to coordinate. The federal and state researchers are identifying and implementing methods and approaches that will, where feasible, produce comparable data. This could effectively expand the overall U.S. research sample size and provide additional insight into potential exposure variability. There are also important differences between the federal and OEHHA studies that will provide complementary data for improved exposure assessment.

Taking samples of tire crumb rubber from
a turf field. Photo credit: EPA

“The U.S. EPA study complements and strengthens what we are doing in California. Consultations with the U.S. EPA scientists benefit our project team and help to improve the quality of the California synthetic turf study.”—CalEPA OEHHA Senior Toxicologist Dr. Patty Wong