At the end of 2017, RIVM was commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management to research the potential environmental impact of rubber granulate. The study was prompted by the discovery in 2017 that large quantities of rubber granulate were vanishing from sports pitches and into the environment. RIVM had previously identified potential environmental risks from substances leaching out of the rubber granulate.
RIVM research on rubber granulate on synthetic turf fields with an infill of rubber granulate was published on December 20th, 2016. In March 2017 RIVM published a compilation of the initial 2016 report and all the scientific background documents: 'Evaluation of health risks of playing sports on synthetic turf pitches with rubber granulate : Scientific background document'.
RIVM has conducted research into the health risks of playing sports on synthetic turf fields with an infill of rubber granulate. The results of this research indicate that playing sports on these fields is safe. The risk to health from playing sports on these synthetic turf fields is virtually negligible. While rubber granulate contains harmful substances, these substances are only released from the rubber granulate in very small quantities after ingestion, contact with the skin or evaporation in hot weather. RIVM recommends adjusting the standard for rubber granulate to one that is closer to the standard applicable to consumer products.
Rubber granulate from 100 synthetic turf fields in the Netherlands was tested for hazardous substances. The rubber granulate was analysed in the laboratory to determine which substances it contains and how much. This provides a representative picture of rubber granulate present in the Netherlands.