Sports are a huge staple of American culture, but recently the safety of athletes has come under question as concerns have been raised over the potential side effects of the crumb rubber used in artificial turfs.
According to NBC News, Senators Bill Nelson of Florida and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut have come forward asking President Obama and the White House to “spearhead” a study into the possible health risks.
With help from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Centers for Disease Control, the study will test whether the crumb rubber, which is made from recycled tires, has any connection to developing cancer.
“Given that millions of children and young athletes play on crumb rubber synthetic surfaces every day,” wrote the senators, any possible “correlation with cancer cannot be ignored.”
Tires are typically made from synthetic rubbers, such as styrene-butadiene rubber which is a mixture of two monomers, styrene and butadiene, in place of natural rubbers.
The two senators are just the latest congressional officials to push for further investigation into the issue since NBC News started airing and publishing a series of reports on crumb rubber back in 2014.
While no studies have definitively found a link between the turf and cancer, some experts believe more tests are required to determine the material’s safety.
In response to the outcry, the manufacturers of artificial turf stated that dozens of studies have shown the surface is not harmful to people.
However, that hasn’t stopped other public officials from pushing for a halt in the production of crumb rubber until a verdict is reached.
ABC 7 of Washington reports that a Virginia lawmaker, Delegate Marcus Simon, is calling for a three-year moratorium on the installation of crumb rubber on fields at schools and parks.
All of this turmoil stems from a college soccer coach tracking cases of athletes who often play on crumb rubber turf being diagnosed with cancer.
This isn’t the first time Simon has proposed his bill. He brought it forward once before but is now using evidence from an ABC 7 investigation, which exposed major concerns over artificial turf.
“This is just to stop making the problem worse,” Simon told ABC 7. “We’ve got enough indications that this is a problem , a potential problem, a very serious problem. Let’s not make it any worse. Let’s stop where crumb rubber is concerned, pause until we get the answers we need.”
Once again, the synthetic rubber industry responded by directing attention to the numerous studies which have found otherwise.