Hematology expert says research doesn’t back up claims linking artificial turf with cancer

Yet another expert has come forward to weigh in on turf infill safety. This time it’s Abhinav Deol, M.D. that stated that research doesn’t back up claims linking artificial turf with cancer.

We have shared his recent comments below on our FieldTurf blog below or you can view the original article Here.

Karmanos Hematology expert says research doesn’t back up claims linking artificial turf with cancer


Health risks associated with young people coming in contact with artificial turf, such as what can be found on many sports fields across the country, has made national headlines. NBC’s Web site recently ran a lengthy story about the subject, speculating on how safe children are playing on the artificial turf, which is partly composed of “crumb rubber.”

The NBC story can be found here: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/how-safe-artificial-turf-your-child-plays-n220166

Crumb rubber comes in the form of tiny black rubber crumbs that are used to fill in between the blades of artificial grass. It is made from pulverized rubber from old tires and can contain benzene, carbon black and leader, among other ingredients, according to the story.
Some members of the public, including sports team coaches, believe these particles can cause cancer in those who are exposed to it.

The NBC report notes that no research has linked artificial turf with cancer, though young people in their early 20s who have played on the fields are being diagnosed with blood-type cancers, such as lymphoma.

While federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) state that more testing needs to be done to determine a link, the EPA also deemed the issue a state and local decision about whether artificial turf sports fields should be installed in their respective communities.

Abhinav Deol, M.D., member of the Hematology Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and assistant professor in the Department of Oncology at Wayne State University School of Medicine, stated that research thus far does not back up the link between the artificial turf and individuals being diagnosed with cancer.

“It’s hard to say if there is a link between crumb rubber and cancer like Hodgkin Lymphoma because the common age group of patients diagnosed with this cancer is either in their 20s or over 55 years old,” Dr. Deol said. “We still don’t know why some people get lymphoma and as of yet, there is no strong causative relation identified between environmental exposure and lymphomas.

“There are so many chemicals in the environment,” he added. “It’s a hard thing to distinguish, whether the chemicals in artificial turf can cause cancer. A majority of the young adults who have played on the turf don’t have the cancer.”

A few precautions parents can take to ensure their children aren’t overexposed to the materials is to have their kids shower after playing on the artificial turf, cleaning wounds of black pellets and telling them to try to not ingest the pellets.

Lastly, Dr. Deol doesn’t believe parents should yank their kids off the sports fields over news of artificial turf.

“The health benefits of playing sports far outweigh keeping your kids indoors,” he said. “The data is not there to support keeping kids from playing on artificial turf.”

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