MONTREAL—As the debate intensifies about the potential health risks of crumb rubber, Tracey Norberg believes one fact often gets overlooked.
Most of the studies that have been conducted on the topic—which have concluded that crumb rubber poses no threat to humans or the environment—have been funded by government, not by the industry itself. Thus, detractors can't pass the results off as industry biased, the Rubber Manufacturers' Association senior vice president said.
“The studies that say they did not identify a cancer risk are studies from bastions of conservative thought like the state of California, and these are actually helpful to us, to be able to actually say government looked at this issue,” said Norberg, who represents the tire industry before federal, state and local agencies on matters of interest.
She was speaking Oct. 22 as part of a panel discussion during the 2014 Rubber Recycling Symposium in Montreal, which was organized by the RMA as well as the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada.
The issue became a hot topic again earlier this month after NBC News aired the story, “How Safe Is the Artificial Turf Your Child Plays On?”
The piece focused on Amy Griffin, associate head coach for the women's soccer team at the University of Washington, who identified 38 U.S. soccer players who had been diagnosed with blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma, including 34 goalkeepers. The story pointed out they shared one trait: They often competed on artificial turf, comprised of crumb rubber granules.
Norberg said the report did not provide any substantive facts, nor did it offer any new information.
“I think it's important to realize, when you listen to the NBC story, that they're not presenting any data; they're not presenting any scientific research; there's nothing new that is in the scientific domain on this topic,” she said.