U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., wrote a letter to President Barack Obama asking for a federal-led study on the potential health risks of crumb rubber.
In the letter, both lawmakers said the possible link between the material and cancer warrants further scrutiny.
“Given that millions of children and young athletes play on crumb rubber synthetic surfaces every day, this correlation with cancer cannot be ignored,” the lawmakers wrote, according to a prepared statement.
The senators ask Obama for “a more comprehensive federal study on this matter, one that draws not only from the public safety expertise of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, but from the public health and environmental expertise of agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Agency.”
According to the letter, the two senators contacted Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Elliot Kaye in November asking the agency to initiate an independent study on the safety of crumb rubber. According to the letter, Kaye agreed and the CPSC will be working with the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). Still, Blumenthal said even more can be done.
“We think there has to be a combined effort with the CSPC, the Center for Disease Control and the federal Environmental Protection Agency so that the public is more fully informed as to the public health and safety impact of crumb rubber,” Blumenthal said.
OEHHA convened its first meeting of the state’s Crumb Rubber Science Panel at CAL/EPA headquarters in Sacramento on Feb. 8. The meeting was webcast.
According to the letter, research conducted by University of Washington soccer coach Amy Griffin found that 153 reported cancer cases involved athletes who spent significant periods of time playing on crumb rubber turf. Blumenthal said he and Nelson are drawing no conclusions of the possible health risks of crumb rubber, only asking questions about its safety.
“I’m not a scientific expert or a scientist,” Blumenthal said. “All we’re asking is that the president initiates this interagency federal investigation.”