NEW YORK—NBC News is offbase in suggesting that crumb rubber in synthetic athletic turf may be a causative factor in various cancers, according to the Recycled Rubber Council, an association for recycled rubber manufacturers, processors and distributors.
“Recycled rubber used in synthetic turf fields and other products is safe and does not cause cancer,” the RRC said in an Oct. 5 statement.
“Rubber has been an everyday part of life in America for more than 170 years, and to claim that it suddenly poses a health risk is simply false,” it said.
“Our hearts go out to the cancer patients and their families identified in the NBC segment, but we have to look at the facts and the science,” the RRC said. “As an industry, we stand unequivocally behind these products, and we would not put our children and grandchildren on fields or playgrounds with crumb rubber if they were hazardous.”
The RRC noted that NBC News itself acknowledges that no research has linked crumb or shredded scrap tire rubber to cancer. The report also quoted toxicologist Laura Green as saying there is no reason for concern about synthetic turf.
NBC Nightly News broadcast a two-part story on synthetic turf Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, a follow-up to the story it ran on synthetic turf in 2014.
Both stories centered on Amy Griffin, women's soccer coach at the University of Washington. In last year's story, Griffin said she had learned of 38 young soccer players, 34 of them goalkeepers, who had developed various forms of cancer. In the latest story, she told NBC News that she had learned of 63 goalies who had developed cancer, 15 of whom had died.