WASHINGTON—NBC News aired a follow-up report Sept. 30 on its report regarding the safety of crumb rubber synthetic turf.
The report, which is scheduled to continue Oct. 1 on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, is titled, “Feds Won't say if Artificial Turf on Your Kid's Soccer Field is Safe,” and questions the inaction of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Product Safety Commission in pursuing studies on the possible health effects of synthetic turf on young soccer players.
As with its report last year, NBC News focuses on Amy Griffin, women's soccer coach at the University of Washington. According to that story, Griffin had uncovered 38 cancer victims—34 of them goalkeepers—who played on synthetic turf and had developed various forms of cancer.
The new story states that many people had contacted Griffin after the original report, and that her count of cancer victims among soccer goalies had grown to at least 63.
The new story shows EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy declining comment when NBC reporters ask her about synthetic turf. It also shows a California state senator who sponsored legislation to curtail the use of synthetic turf calling for federal research, and a synthetic turf manufacturing executive calling for the same thing.
Existing studies on the safety of synthetic turf show no causal link between synthetic turf and cancer or other diseases, the report said, but added that the authors of those studies say further research is needed.
The report mentions the three-year, $2.86 million study commissioned by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) from the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to expand the study of potential human health effects associated with the use of recycled scrap tires in playground surfacing and synthetic turf.
Begun in June 2015, the study will culminate in a report to CalRecycle summarizing the data and evaluating potential health hazards, according to an OEHHA press release.
The Rubber Manufacturers Association is one of the many organizations that defend the safety of synthetic turf. Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president, public affairs, noted NBC News acknowledges that current studies show synthetic turf to be safe.
The RMA also supports the OEHHA study and other further research into synthetic turf, according to Zielinski. “We are not opposed to any significant studies on this issue,” he said.