Washington study finds no link between artificial turf and cancer

A new study in Washington has found no link between the crumb rubber found in artificial turf and cancer.

The state-led study was limited in scope, but it mirrors a Dutch study released last year that similarly found artificial fields were safe for athletes. An ongoing national study is currently underway, taking a more thorough examination of potential health risks with artificial turf, but the results won’t be released until later this year.

Washington’s study compared cancer rates among soccer players with cancer rates of those in the same age group. According to The Herald, state health officials began the study after a University of Washington soccer coach compiled a list of 53 people who played on artificial turf and were later diagnosed with cancer.

From the article:

The state study examined a subset of this group, 27 people between 6 to 24 years old who were diagnosed with cancer during the years 2002 to 2015.

One of the cases was that of Austen Everett, who trained with the UW soccer coach. Everett was a goalkeeper for Seattle’s Bishop Blanchet High School and played on teams at the University of California Santa Barbara and the University of Miami in Florida. She was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma as a college junior in 2008. She died four years later when she was 25.

State health officials met with some of the families involved in the study, including Everett’s mother, to present their findings.

“To say I am disappointed is an understatement,” she said. “We’re all hopeful that the tire crumb will get the intense scrutiny it deserves.”

Artificial turf uses a crumb rubber infill — ground-up tires — and there has been speculation that it contains hazardous chemicals linked to cancer. Those concerns have caused many school districts and universities to reconsider artificial fields at their facilities. 

Click here to read more about Washington’s state study.

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