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Watch E:60’s ‘The Turf War’: Julie Foudy’s look at cancer and crumb rubber fields

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This week, ESPN’s E:60 aired this segment (below) on what one expert compared to a medical outbreak – the link between the crumb rubber pellets used on artificial fields and players diagnosed with cancer.

The causality, as outlined by experts interviewed by E:60’s Julie Foudy, works like this: The small, rubber pellets used to pad turf fields, made by dicing up used car tires, are ingested by players, be it via airborne particles or when players dive to the ground. Those pellets, revealed by tests to contain a number of carcinogens, then cause illness, as illustrated by a number of youth players in the Seattle area.

The piece focuses on evidence gathered by a Washington-based goalkeeper coach who began making a list of ill players who’d been exposed to rubber pellets. At the time of airing, Rachel Griffin’s list was up to 154 soccer players, and although there is no evidence establishing a direct link between the materials and cancer, concerns are growing.

Though E:60’s piece leans heavily on Griffin’s observations from youth soccer in Washington, a series of experts are interviewed to support the hypothesis: Yes, there could be a connection between the pellets and these illnesses. Unfortunately, as the piece highlights, too little is being done to pursue that link, leaving athletes and parents in the dark as to the dangers of these evermore prominent surfaces.

Those dangers may not exist, but as E:60’s work shows, we’re disturbingly short on answers:

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jimbo

    November 5, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    Whole lotta nuthin here

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