Hill Introduces Bill Banning New Artificial Turf Fields Made With Recycled Tires While State Studies Possible Link To Cancer And Other Health Risks

December 17, 2014

Senator Jerry Hill Introduces Bill Banning New Artificial Turf Fields Made With Recycled Tires While The State Studies Possible Link To Cancer And Other Health Risks

SB 47 Would Use Money From The California Tire Recycling Management Fund To Pay For The Comprehensive Study Prompted By Concerns These Surfaces Are Harming Children

SACRAMENTO – Senator Jerry Hill, prompted by increasing concerns that artificial turf fields made with crumbs of rubber from recycled tires may be linked to serious illnesses in children, today introduced legislation that would prohibit the installation of these surfaces in schools and parks in California while the state conducts a study to determine possible health risks.

"The Los Angeles Unified School District and city of New York have already implemented complete bans – this is just a temporary moratorium until a thorough analysis can be conducted,” Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, said in introducing Senate Bill 47, The Children's Safe Playground and Turf Field Act of 2015.

Concerns have mounted about chemical compounds contained in recycled rubber tires as an increasing number of young athletes have developed leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and testicular, prostate and other forms of cancer.

Hill’s bill would require the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, in consultation with the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, the Department of Public Health, and the Department of Toxic Substances Control, to conduct a study to be completed by July 1, 2017, into possible health risks posed by these artificial fields.

SB 47 would prohibit a public or private school or local government until Jan. 1, 2018, from installing, or contracting for the installation of a new field or playground surface made from synthetic turf containing crumb rubber from used tires in public or private schools or public parks. The temporary moratorium would not affect the installation of fields already underway. The temporary moratorium will not impact turf fields and playground surfaces containing alternative materials made without used tires.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that our children aren’t being harmed by materials used to make their fields and playgrounds,” Hill said.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has deferred such studies and regulation to states. In California, the Legislature commissioned a 2010 study that looked, specifically, at whether these fields release significant amounts of volatile organic compounds that are harmful to humans and if they increase the risk of serious skin infections.

Hill’s legislation calls for a more comprehensive study, including the cumulative impacts on human health from various chemicals found in tires that might also be present in turf fields and playgrounds made with crumb rubber. The study will also look at alternatives to crumb rubber from used tires such as coconut fibers, rice husks, cork and used shoes.

Money for the study would come from the California Tire Recycling Management Fund, which requires a person who purchases a new tire to pay a state fee for programs related to disposal of used tires.

To view the text of SB 47, please click here.