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Sci Total Environ. 2011 Nov 1;409(23):4950-7. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2011.07.042. Epub 2011 Sep 9.

Artificial-turf playing fields: contents of metals, PAHs, PCBs, PCDDs and PCDFs, inhalation exposure to PAHs and related preliminary risk assessment.

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Department of Environment and Primary Prevention, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy.


The artificial-turf granulates made from recycled rubber waste are of health concern due the possible exposure of users to dangerous substances present in the rubber, and especially to PAHs. In this work, we determined the contents of PAHs, metals, non-dioxin-like PCBs (NDL-PCBs), PCDDs and PCDFs in granulates, and PAH concentrations in air during the use of the field. The purposes were to identify some potential chemical risks and to roughly assess the risk associated with inhalation exposure to PAHs. Rubber granulates were collected from 13 Italian fields and analysed for 25 metals and nine PAHs. One further granulate was analysed for NDL-PCBs, PCDDs, PCDFs and 13 PAHs. Air samples were collected on filter at two fields, using respectively a high volume static sampler close to the athletes and personal samplers worn by the athletes, and at background locations outside the fields. In the absence of specific quality standards, we evaluated the measured contents with respect to the Italian standards for soils to be reclaimed as green areas. Zn concentrations (1 to 19 g/kg) and BaP concentrations (0.02 to 11 mg/kg) in granulates largely exceeded the pertinent standards, up to two orders of magnitude. No association between the origin of the recycled rubber and the contents of PAHs and metals was observed. The sums of NDL-PCBs and WHO-TE PCDDs+PCDFs were, respectively, 0.18 and 0.67×10(-5) mg/kg. The increased BaP concentrations in air, due to the use of the field, varied approximately from <0.01 to 0.4 ng/m(3), the latter referring to worst-case conditions as to the release of particle-bound PAHs. Based on the 0.4 ng/m(3) concentration, an excess lifetime cancer risk of 1×10(-6) was calculated for an intense 30-year activity.

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