The Link Between Goalies, Cancer And Turf

It is a terrifying reality but we will soon know whether or not the turf commonly used on soccer fields poses a health risk to young athletes and children. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Products Safety Commission and the Center for Disease Control Prevention are currently completing a study, results of which are supposed to be released before the year's end. This is all per the EPA website.

At issue is turf filled with tire crumbs. Tire crumb infill in turf became popular in the 1990s as a way to re-use old tires, that are not biodegradable and for which there is no other use. However, tires contain at least 12 known carcinogenic chemicals including mercury, lead and chromium. The old tires are grounds up into small particles and used to fill in turf. These little particles end up everywhere.

The link between the turf and cancer came to light when Amy Griffin, a soccer coach at the University of Washington noticed that she knew two goalies with cancer. She delved a bit deeper. Her research, whilst still only anecdotal reveals that out of 187 young athletes with cancer, 150 of them are soccer players and 95 of those are goalies.

Perhaps the cancers are coincidental? But what if they are not? Stories of young soccer players, especially goalies who come into contact more frequently with the tire crumbs are appearing more regularly.

For San Diegans, this is an even greater concern as elementary schools across San Diego are scheduled to install this type of tire crumb turf. As a parent, it is important that you stay informed about the chemicals to which your children are exposed and any possible dangers.

As an environmental lawyer, I will keep you informed as to when the EPA or any other agency concludes on this matter.