On January 19, 2017, the Washington State Department of Health released a study titled Investigation of Reported Cancer among Soccer Players in Washington State. The News Tribune reports, “The study was prompted by an ongoing debate over whether the use of crumb rubber — made from recycled tires — to cushion artificial turf fields could cause cancer in young athletes.”
The report found lower rates of cancer among soccer players than expected. “[T]his finding does not suggest that soccer players, select and premier soccer players, or goalkeepers in Washington are at increased risk of cancer compared to the general populations.”
Fairfax County continues to look at these and other materials as part of the Health Department’s ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of county residents. A memo was sent to the Board of Supervisors on February 2, 2017, by County Executive Ed Long. In the memo, he concludes, “Currently available research on artificial turf has not shown an elevated health risk from playing on fields with crumb rubber. As such, the county will continue its standard practice of using crumb rubber as a synthetic infill until new scientific evidence or guidance about the public health risk of crumb rubber emerges.”
The Washington State Department of Health has an excellent FAQ about the study on their site.