Department of Environmental Conservation

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DEC Crumb-Rubber Study

Crumb rubber is finely ground rubber derived from scrap tires. It has been used as an infill material on artificial turf fields to cushion the playing surface. Under Environmental Conservation Law, § 27-1901 (ECL), crumb rubber is not considered a solid waste and therefore its use is not regulated as a solid waste under the Department's solid waste regulations. However, in response to recent public concerns about the safety of crumb rubber used at synthetic turf fields, the Department has initiated a study to assess the potential environmental impacts from the use of crumb rubber as an infill material in synthetic turf fields and to collect data that would be relevant for a public health and environmental assessment. The study has both a laboratory and field component. The laboratory study involves studying actual crumb rubber samples collected from scrap tire processing facilities for leaching and off-gassing potential. The field component involves a survey of air quality and water runoff quality at selected representative turf fields. The study also includes the collection of surface temperatures and measures of heat stress at the turf fields. Results of the study will be evaluated in consultation with the New York State Department of Health. Details of the DEC study plan are outlined in the report entitled: "A Study to Assess Potential Environmental Impacts from the Use of Crumb Rubber as Infill Material in Synthetic Turf Fields" (pdf, 83k), dated June 17, 2008.

The final study has been completed and can be accessed at An Assessment of Chemical Leaching, Releases to Air and Temperature at Crumb-Rubber Infilled Synthetic Turf Fields (pdf 989k).