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Rubber Crumb - Cancer Scare : 20 Apr 2016

Are artificial sports pitches causing cancer?

Telegraph 17th February 2016

Should you be worried?

The case which has been widely splashed across the newspapers this week concerns a young football goal keeper who has developed Hodgkin’s Lymphoma allegedly from inhaling contaminated rubber crumb whilst training and playing on 3G pitches.

There have been some previous studies carried out to look for the causal links between cancers and the rubber crumb used to infill artificial 3G pitch surfaces.

2006 – Norwegian study

2008 - Michigan scientists

2013 – Dutch Journal Chemosphere

None of these studies came up with any conclusive evidence.

What do I think?

Contaminated rubber crumb can be ingested by breathing it in or can enter the body through carpet abrasion

I think that the jury is still out as there are studies still to be carried out and there could be other reasons for this goalkeepers cancer perhaps from other environmental or genetic base causes.

There are also different qualities of rubber crumb available some of which is imported from overseas.

Rubber crumb is made from different rubber tyre compounds it is not all the same.

Have the different suppliers rubber crumbs been all tested for contaminants.

Dr Andrew Thorley, a lecturer in Lung Cell Biology at Imperial College London, believes that a full scale study must be undertaken before any conclusions can be made

I believe that the industry as a whole perhaps through SAPCA should support this initiative for further studies to be carried out. – We need to know whether we have a problem or not.


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