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What is Crumb Rubber and How does it Affect Me?

You may have seen the news lately about artificial turf being dangerous. If you didn’t follow the entire story, it can be a little confusing as to how something like that can lead to blood cancers. While it is still rare, there are ways that a person who is highly exposed to artificial turf can develop Hodgkin’s (or Non-Hodgkin’s) Lymphoma or Leukemia. The culprit, it seems, is the crumb rubber.

How Artificial Turf is designed

When most people think of artificial turf they think of a green carpet like material laid out on the ground. While that is how it originally started back in the 1960’s, it has come a long way since then. Artificial turf is now virtually indistinguishable from traditional grass.

Before the grass is even laid down, the surface is leveled. On top of the dirt a layer of padding is rolled out. Over that the “grass” is laid down. This grass is uniquely designed using silicon and other components to provide blades that look and feel real. In order to help the blades of grass stand up, some are curled and twisted to maintain their shape.

The real padding, however, comes from the crumb rubber. Every year millions of car and truck tires are disposed of. Instead of just letting them clog up landfills, some companies have found new uses for them. One way is to grind them up into small pellets, and then sprinkle them over an artificial turf playing field. These bits of rubber help soften the blow if someone falls against the surface.

The Problem with Crumb Rubber

The crumb rubber does a wonderful job of softening impacts. However, the biggest issue is that it doesn’t actually stay in between the blades of grass. Every time someone or something strikes the surface, these little pellets of rubber bounce up and out of the grass. The result is that players get them in their hair, mouth, clothing, and cuts. Some players estimate that they swallow hundreds of pellets every year.

Tires are not intended to be ingested by humans. Because of this, they are made with chemicals and heavy metals that are known to cause cancer (such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, and others). When players accidentally swallow the rubber pellets, they are subjected to the internal trauma that can be caused. All the while, nobody has ever warned athletes that playing on artificial turf could lead to blood cancer.

Personal injury attorneys are working hard to help raise awareness of this problem, and get compensation to those who have suffered from playing on artificial turf. Contact one today of you have suffered from blood cancer and want to seek justice.

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