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Federal investigation to review rubber turf for possible cancer link

By Marilyn Malara   |   Feb. 13, 2016 at 1:43 PM

SACRAMENTO, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- The Obama administration approved a federal study to review the possible health risks that may come with playing sports on artificial playing fields, especially crumb-rubber turf.

The study, announced Friday, will look at the turf, which is made from recycled tires and is spread across fields to provide cushion and traction for football players, field hockey players and other athletes.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D -Fla., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., urged the White House to greenlight the study due to a suspected link between turf fields and cancer.

"Given that millions of children and young athletes play on crumb-rubber synthetic surfaces every day, correlation with cancer cannot be ignored," the senators wrote, according to NBC news.

No official studies have linked the material to cancer.

Last year, a University of Washington soccer coach presented a list of young athletes battling cancer after regularly playing on turf fields, prompting citizens to call for more studies on the health risks. Now, the list consists of more than 200 athletes, most of which are soccer goalies, reported the Orange County Register.

The study, which will include 50 federal employees and a $2 million initial budget, will be carried out jointly by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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