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EPA, CDC and CPSC Investigating Potential Health Effects of Recycled Tire Crumb Used on Playing Fields and Playgrounds

Public concern is increasing over the safety of recycled rubber tire crumb used as infill for synthetic turf fields and playgrounds. There are currently between 12,000 and 13,000 synthetic turf fields in the United States, and millions of adults and children are estimated to use these fields every year. Critics caution that the use of these fields could be related to certain adverse health effects due to the potential exposure to chemicals in tire crumb rubber.

Although the research conducted so far does not appear to demonstrate an elevated health risk from playing on fields with tire crumb rubber, some questions remain unanswered. Thus, on February 12, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, launched a Federal Research Action Plan on Recycled Tire Crumb Used on Playing Fields and Playgrounds to comprehensively study key environmental and health questions relating to human exposure to tire crumb rubber.

On December 30, 2016, the agencies released a preliminary report providing an overview of the tire crumb rubber manufacturing process and the public health issues of concern. The report summarizes the agencies’ actions to date, including their progress on research programs, and provides a final peer-reviewed Literature Review/Gaps Analysis. Next steps and a timeline for completion of the final report are also included.

Notably, because research is still ongoing, the status report does not include any preliminary findings. However, the federal agencies anticipate releasing a final report later this year.

Additionally, it is unknown how this investigation will be affected by the new presidential administration.

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Michael J. Sullivan, Womble Carlyle, risk management attorney, cost control lawyer
Managing Partner

Michael Sullivan is Managing Partner in the Atlanta office of Womble Carlyle, a full-service business law firm with more than 530 lawyers in 14 offices throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic United States and in Silicon Valley. Michael is a mass tort and complex commercial litigation attorney with over 30 years of experience representing clients in bet-the-company litigation.  His practice today includes acting as trusted advisor to senior level executives on risk management, cost control and litigation management issues.  In addition to his leadership role in the...

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Loryn Buckner, Insurance Defense Litigator, Womble Carlyle Law firm
Attorney

Loryn’s practice is focused on defending insurance industry clients in complex litigation. Loryn continues to develop her practice by immersing herself in the insurance industry. She spent her first year on the job writing legal briefs exclusively for insurance defense cases and she regularly spends hours studying all manner of insurance policies. She has even completed property and casualty course work for insurance adjusters and agents to understand her clients’ work from the ground up. Loryn’s clients appreciate her thoughtful approach to problem-solving and attentiveness to their needs. 

In addition to her legal experience, Loryn also spent five years in various roles with Bank of America monitoring policy and procedure compliance, which has helped her in understanding her clients’ business objectives.

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Christopher Kreiner, Womble Carlyle Law Firm, Product Liability and Personal Injury Attorney
Partner

Chris Kreiner is a trial lawyer who has spent his career defending clients in product liability and personal injury litigation. He has worked for more than a decade on cases throughout the United States, including New York, California, Florida, Mississippi, Missouri and Washington, D.C., in both federal and state courts.  Most recently, Chris served as trial counsel in Lesia Mooney, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Barbara June Meacham v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al, an “Engle progeny” case tried in Florida involving claims...

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