Questions & answers

We get many questions associated with the use of the filler material SBR for artificial turf pitches. These are the most common questions we get:

Is it safe to engage in sports on artificial turf?

Yes, it is.

Fears about the impact on health have been able to be dispelled after more than 70 independent research reports have shown that it is harmless. The regulated amounts of PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) that can occur in tyres are strongly bound because tyre rubber is vulcanised (sulphur is added under heat) and very strong chemical bonds occur between the various components of the material.

It is important to put knowledge of dangerous substances into perspective. The Dutch State institute for public health reported in its study on health risks to players on all-weather pitches from SBR granulate that exposure to PAH (37-98 ng/day) is slight compared with normal exposure to adults via food (1800-4900 ng/day), i.e. a factor of 1:50. The Institute also notes that the daily exposure to PAH via food can be significantly higher due to the consumption of grilled meat. In our SBR, measured values ​​are below 10 ppm for PAH8 (the sum of the 8 PAHs which REACH limits in restriction No 50 in the manufacture of new tyres).

By February 2017, ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency gave a green light in a report commissioned by the European Commission. It states that there are no health risks associated with sports on artificial turf pitches with filler material from recycled tyres, or working on the maintenance of the pitches. Measurements of today's recycled materials show that the values ​​for PAH8 are well below the limit of 20 ppm which the ECHA used in its risk assessment and gave a green light to. It is worth noting that these limit values ​​in restriction 50, especially in respect of PAHs, were set on the basis of assessed health risks for people who come into direct physical contact daily with the material in the manufacturing process – what is more, before it is chemically bonded by vulcanisation.

Link to the ECHA's study

What are the advantages of using SBR as a filler material?

From a life-cycle perspective in the production of different filler materials, it has also been shown that it is of greater benefit to the environment, based on a number of environmental impact categories, to use rubber granulate from scrap tyres as opposed to other newly-produced filler materials (e.g. saving in CO2 emissions). Cork has CO2 emissions similar to SBR but since an artificial turf pitch requires about 88 hectares of cork plantation during its lifetime (assumed 10 years), the land use required is very high.

In addition, rubber granulate from recycled tyre material is relatively inexpensive compared with other filler materials, which means that more pitches can be laid out and more people will be able to engage in sport. It has also been found that rubber granulate has superior playing characteristics.

Read more about the life cycle analyses for SBR in artificial turf pitches.

Read more about the life cycle analyses for SBR in rubber asphalt.

How can one prevent the spread of granulate to the surrounding nature and water systems?

Ragn-Sells Tyre Recycling provides instructions for the safe use of granulate. In brief, the subjects covered are:

  • Surfaces for snow removal
  • Closed water system
  • Filters in wells
  • Brushing off of players

See Ragn-Sell's instructions for the safe use of rubber granulate on artificial turf pitches.

We at Ragn-Sells Däckåtervinning AB encourage, and contribute to, the research on recycled tyre material, people and the environment and welcome all new knowledge concerning how the material affects the surroundings and can be of the best benefit.

If you cannot find what you are looking for, you are welcome to email us your question or contact Sara Stiernström on +46107232485.

Does leaching from artificial turf have a negative effect on the environment?

There are no studies showing that the environment around artificial turf pitches with filler material from scrap tyres would adversely affect the environment. The levels leached out are very low.

Download the report:

Dispersal of microplastic from a modern artificial turf pitch with preventive measures - Case study Bergaviks IP, Kalmar (Report) 

Microplastic dispersal from Bergavik IP, Kalmar (Annexes)