European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) issued a report that "found no reason to advise people against playing sports on synthetic turf containing recycled rubber granules as infill material."

SBR rubber granulate has been the subject of vociferous speculation regarding its potential toxicity to soccer players using artificial pitches containing this infill  

SBR rubber granulate has been the subject of vociferous speculation regarding its potential toxicity to soccer players using artificial pitches containing this infill  

In June 2016, the European Commission asked the ECHA to evaluate any risk to the general population, including children, professional players and workers installing or maintaining the fields from synthetic turf fields with recycled rubber infill. The ECHA's advice is based on their evaluation that there is "a very low level of concern from exposure to substances found in the granules."

The ECHA found that the concern for players and workers for lifetime cancer is very low, for metals is negligible and for phthalates, benzothiazole and methyl isobutyl ketone there are no concerns. The ECHA also noted that their conclusions are consistent with those found in the recent Dutch RIVM and Washington State studies. 

A copy of the report can be found here:

Washington State Dept of Health conclude "artificial pitches containing rubber crumb does not cause cancer in soccer players"


Yesterday the Washington State Department of Health (WA DOH) published one of the most detailed reports available on this issue concluding that there is no elevated risk of cancer among soccer players who play on artificial turf fields. As many of you know, the WA DOH two-year study was prompted by University of Washington Coach Amy Griffin's list of soccer players in the state with cancer. 

The report found: "We did not find the number of cancers among soccer players, select and premier players, or goalkeepers reported to the project team to be higher than expected based on Washington cancer rates for people of the same ages. Based on what we know today, the Washington State Department of Health recommends that people who enjoy soccer continue to play regardless of the type of field surface."

Link to report:

FIFA to issue new manual next week

FIFA will issue the new Handbook of Requirements and the Handbook of test methods for the FIFA quality concept for football turf. 

This much talked about update has involved some radical changes to the preparation and evaluation of football turf for FIFA certification.

The new manuals will be available for download next week we will post a link. 

The new manuals will be available for download next week we will post a link. 

The new FIFA quality pro and FIFA quality perhaps making a clearer distinction between community and pro fields this is a welcomed change.  A new Lisport XL is making it debut and new tests for infill splash, heat on surfaces and yarns for UV and thickness to name just some of the changes in this a fairly significant overhaul of the 2012 version.

Sports Labs will be providing a detailed communique on the changes early next week or better still come see us on our stand at FSB next week.

Infill Splash; Conclusion from study

Image Infill Splash Research Sports Labs in conjunction with Napier University in Edinburgh have been researching the issue of infill [rubber] splash in 3G Football Turf systems. The purpose of the research was to produce a test method to assess the infill splash of filled 3G systems. The test should be able to measure the splash and rank systems in terms of low to high degrees of splash and characterize the splash in terms of the issues this may cause to television viewing.

The test was set up to look at ball/surface interaction and not player surface interaction, the theory being that the ball surface test may to some extent simply identify systems prone to splash whether ball or person interface is the mode of impact. This assumption as yet has not been tested by Sports Labs and may form the subject of further future research.

As with all research projects, this tends to pose more questions some of these questions will be discussed in the coming weeks.

Principal Conclusions from Research

  • The amount of free pile (pile exposed above the infill) affects the amount of infill splash, high values of free pile reduces infill splash.
  • A firm substrates [stone, asphalt] does reduces infill splash, shock pads in a direct comparison increase infill splash values.
  • A thatch pile within an artificial turf does not reduce infill splash.
  • Pile density does influence infill splash; higher density artificial turf does influence infill splash positively.
  • Green coloured infill is less obtrusive then black SBR when filmed under test.
  • The grading and shape of the infill does not appear to influence the degree of infill splash.
  • 40mm pile height artificial turf appears to have high infill splash values.

Clearly it would be useful to test systems which purport to be low splash in the next phase of the study. Also it would be helpful to have other Labs to use the test to assess inter Laboratory reproducibility following on from this. We will make some improvements to the test when it is introduced to the Lab for general evaluation again these will be discussed in the coming weeks.