Cancer in the Turf?

While trying to think of a blog post I thought of an interesting story I heard on ESPN about the turf beads on turf soccer fields correlation to cancer. Not many people know but the turf beads on turf fields comes from used rubber tires that are then broken down into little rubber crumbs. The use of the rubber crumbs on synthetic turf fields was a solution to the build up of used tires with no where to put them.

The institution of turf has been great for the sporting world. Personally, as someone who played football on both a grass field and a turf field, a turf field has every advantage. Turf fields are softer, flatter, and dry fifa-turf-sexist-kat-mcgrail1more quickly then almost any grass field. However, recently, a disadvantage may have been discovered.

Amy Griffin is the goalkeeping coach for the University of Washington’s women’s soccer team. More importantly, she seems to have picked up on a scary correlation. Griffin noticed a significant number of athletes who had once constantly practiced and played on synthetic turf fields were diagnosed with some form of cancer in their later lives. The even more shocking discovery was that many of these players were goalies. Since this discovery Amy Griffin has sought out to find more cases of athletes who once played on synthetic turf and have been diagnosed with any type of cancer. The results were consistent with her hypothesis. She made a list of 200 of athletes who fit the mold she was looking for. Of those 200 athletes with cancer, 101 were soccer goalies. Used tires are toxic if burned and thats why they can not be put in landfills, but now there is fear breathing in or exposure to the toxicity maybe be causing cancer, primarily lymphoma. It is suspected that the crumb rubber getting on open cuts, in the eye, in the mouth, and other exposed areas may lead to health concerns. Although many toxologists suggest there is not enough evidence for concern that the fields are causing cancer, the statistics definitely call for attention to this subject.  here

5 thoughts on “Cancer in the Turf?

  1. Heather Grace McDermott

    Loved the topic of your blog post! I have been a soccer player my whole life and have played on countless amounts of turf fields. Obviously the amount of times does not even come close to what a professional goalie endures, but I could still agree with you that this topic needs more attention. If you know a soccer goalie, you know that if they don’t practice or play with knee pads or elbow pads, they are ALWAYS cut up. The amount of diving that a goalie does onto the ground makes them more prone to a turf burn than a regular player on the field. This could be the reason why they are more susceptible to getting cancer. As for other sports, I couldn’t even imagine how many times a football player gets tackled onto a turf field. Here is an interesting article that talks about how the EPA and even the CDC have been recently looking into how dangerous a turf field actually is.

  2. Summer A Carson

    Hi Samuel,
    Your blog struck my attention right away, because any athlete doesn’t want to read turf and cancer in the same phrase! I went to a very nice middle and high school and so my team was able to play on turf for my two years in middle school and my four years in high school. I also was lucky enough to play two years of Division II field hockey in college, which I also played on turf! Almost every turf field I have played on has had the tiny rubber pieces for traction and turf maintenance reasons. I hope that more research and studies will be done to make this idea ruled out or lean toward being true, because I feel that it is a relatively new issue. Here is another article that talks about the correlation between cancer and turf which talks about a death that actually occurred.

  3. Kameron Villavicencio

    I think this is a very interesting point about turf fields. I know that the US women soccer team is not a fan because they are rough, and I know personally I hate it when those little pebbles get everywhere, but I never considered them to be cancerous. It’s scary how these things can be so dangerous and nobody knows until results start being shown in the form of cancer.

  4. Randall Stansbury

    I have always thought as turf as a good thing. I played field hockey all throughout high school and playing on grass was the worst experience ever. The turf was so much smoother and easier to play on. I think that it’s scary however that they have not brought awareness to this issue of cancer when putting a turf field at almost every school in sight. I think that it is important to inform your athletes on the risks that they are taking by playing on a turf field.

  5. Jen Malespina

    This post was very interesting yet it also scared me. Turf fields have basically replaced all grass fields and have become so popular in the sports world. It is unsettling to think that this innovation could possibly be a cause of cancer. This intrigued me so much that I began to look into the subject and found this article

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