Yale study: carcinogens and skin irritants present in synthetic turf

Source: Rubberecycle Mulch/Flickr

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Researchers at Yale University’s Environment and Human Health program released a report Thursday revealing chemicals used in synthetic turf fields and rubber tire mulch used as surfacing material in toddler playgrounds.

According to the report, the study revealed 96 chemicals were found in the 14 samples they analyzed. The study also revealed 11 carcinogens in the turf samples, as well as 20 known skin irritants.

Researchers said the shredded rubber tire playground mulch samples tested were provided by the manufacturer, and were purchased in new bags of rubber mulch for use in gardens and playgrounds. The rubber tire infill for synthetic turf fields was obtained as new infill material from installers of synthetic turf fields. There were five samples of fill from five different installers of fields, and nine different samples of rubber mulch taken from nine different unopened bags of playground mulch.

The Yale report found that half of the chemicals they found had no official government testing done on them, so it is unclear whether those chemicals are safe or harmful to public health.  Of the other half that have had some government testing done, here are their findings:

Information compiled from Yale Environment and Human Health report

11 Carcinogens

  • Mercaptobenzothiazole – Toxic to aquatic life
  • Dimethylanthracene – Respiratory irritant and can cause asthma
  • Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate – May cause damage to fetuses
  • Fluoranthene – Fluoranthene is one of the U.S. EPA’s 16 priority pollutant.
  • Heptadecane
  • Mercaptobenzothiazole
  • Phenol
  • Phenanthrene
  • Phthalimide – Skin, eye, and lung irritant. A Fungiside.
  • Pyrene
  • Tetratriacontane – Eye and skin irritant. Can cause systemic damage to central nervous system.
  • Pyrene – Toxic to liver and Kidneys.

20 Irritants

  • Benzenediamine, N-(1,3-dimethylbutyl)-N’-phenyl – Causes skin and eye irritation, toxic to aquatic life
  • Benzenediamine, N-(1-methylethyl)-N’-phenyl – Causes skin and eye irritation, toxic to aquatic life
  • Benzothiazolone – Causes skin and lung irritatation
  • Dodecen-1-yl(-)succinic anhydride – Causes eyes, skin, and lung irritation
  • Butyl-4-hydroxybenzaldehyde – Causes irritation to eyes, skin, and lungs.
  • Anthracene – Causes skin, eye and respiratory irritation. Breathing it can irritate the nose, throat, and lungs causing coughing and wheezing.
  • Benzenamine, 4-octyl-N-(4-octylphenyl)- Causes eye and skin irritation
  • Benzenesulfonanilide – Considered hazardous, very little testing has been done on it.
  • Benzothiazole, 2-(methylthio) – Causes Skin and eye irritation.
  • Dehydroabietic acid – Toxic to aquatic organisms
  • Docosane – Causes Skin irritation
  • Hexadecanoic acid, butyl ester – Causes eye, skin and lung irritant. Can cause reproductive effects.
  • Methyl stearate – Causes eye, skin and lung irritation.
  • OctadecaneI – Causes kin, eye and respiratory irritation
  • Octadecanoic acid (also known as Stearic acid) – Causes skin, eye and respiratory irritation
  • Oleic Acid – Causes skin and eye irritation
  • Phenol, 2,2′-methylenebis[6-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-4-ethyl- Causes skin, eye and respiratory irritation
  • Tetradecanoic acid – Toxic to aquatic organisms. Skin and eye irritant.
  • Anthracene, 2-methyl- Acute aquatic toxicity, Not much data available – what there is shows it to be an eye, skin and lung irritant
  • Anthracene, 9-methyl- Acute aquatic toxicity, serious eye irritant

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