ERASSTRI - European Risk Assessment Study on Synthetic Turf Rubber Infill - Part 1: Analysis of infill samples

Sci Total Environ. 2020 May 20:718:137174. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.137174. Epub 2020 Feb 7.


End-of-life tyre (ELT)-derived rubber granules are used as synthetic turf infill on sports fields. They contain various chemical substances and there are concerns that exposure to these substances might be harmful for human health. This Europe-wide risk assessment study addresses these concerns. As the first part, chemical substances in samples from recycling companies and from sports fields were analysed. 86 coated and non-coated ELT granule samples from sites in 14 European countries were investigated, together with ten non-ELT materials. An extensive list of potentially relevant substances was compiled, and the infill materials were analysed for these substances, using GC and HPLC methods. Volatilisation of substances was studied in emission chambers. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (sum of 8 REACH PAHs) were identified at average concentrations below 10 mg/kg. Substances found at higher concentrations in rubber granules were aluminium (arithmetic mean in uncoated samples from sports fields 5383 mg/kg) and cobalt (168 mg/kg), benzothiazole (48 mg/kg) and 2-hydroxybenzothiazole (34 mg/kg), 6PPD (571 mg/kg) and DPG (51 mg/kg), and 4-tert-octylphenol (14 mg/kg). In addition, the following volatiles were found to evaporate from crumb rubber in emission chambers: benzothiazole, tert-butylamine, cyclohexanone, methyl isobutyl ketone, 2-heptanone and saturated aliphatic hydrocarbons higher than C9. With this comprehensive survey we created a profound database on concentrations of chemical substances in ELT-derived infill material, which is essential for a reliable risk assessment. The results were used to inform subsequent investigations (migration studies, exposure monitoring survey).

Keywords: Chemical composition; End-of-life tyre; Rubber; Tyre granulate; Volatile.

MeSH terms

  • Elastomers*
  • Environmental Pollutants*
  • Europe
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Risk Assessment
  • Rubber*


  • Elastomers
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Rubber
  • Environmental Pollutants