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Artificial turf could be hazardous
Artificial turf made from car tyres could potentially lead to health problems in humans, according to the Swedish Chemicals Inspectorate (KEML). Recycled rubber is used as both filling material and as a component of artificial turf in sports fields, as well as in running tracks.
Hazardous and carcinogenic substances can be found in car tyres, such as poly-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), phthalates, phenols, zinc and heavy metals. Concern lies mainly in the long-term effects of proximity to these chemicals. It is possible to use raw rubber for sports fields, artificial turf and running tracks, but it is 7-8 times cheaper to use recycled car tyres. Hence their popularity.
KEML has said that users should demand information on the chemical composition of shredded tyres and removal of toxic components, and should also call for research into better, non-toxic alternatives. It says that sports associations and local authorities should put a halt to the inappropriate use of scrap tyres.
An EU-wide ban on dumping used tyres, which is due to take effect in July, is sparking interest in other recovery routes. Countries that have set specific targets for recycling used tyres tend to undermine other recovery routes, according to the European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturersĺ Association. In 2004. 80% of used tyres were recovered in some way in the EU, compared with 88% in Japan and 90% in the US.