Former NHS boss, Nigel Maguire wants governing bodies to review the health risks of 3G pitches after claiming rubber pellets on the surface contributed to his son’s cancer.
Maguire says son Lewis, 18, has Hodgkin lymphoma disease after being exposed to the ‘crumb rubber’ found on the 3G surface, added to give the pitch more bounce.
The pellets are often made from recycled car tyres and can contain toxic chemicals.
The Football Association outlines that there are 500 3G pitches in England and added it was “aware of concerns”. A spokesperson for the FA explained that it would continue to “monitor industry research” but were currently comfortable with the health guidelines.
This viewpoint was reinforced by the Sports and Play Construction Association; the UK trade organisation for the sports and play facility construction industry. They added that there were “numerous research studies carried out worldwide” and that “the current consensus is that the rubber crumb poses no significant health risk”.
Maguire is however far from reassured by these claims. He notes that as a goalkeeper, his son was more exposed to the rubber crumb than outfield players, and voices similar concerns for rugby players.
“Lewis would be training on this stuff once or twice a week for four or five years, and he would come back telling me how he swallowed a lot of it, how it got into his eyes, and in cuts and grazes,”
“I didn’t think anything of it, one wouldn’t, would you? You’d think if something that was licensed to be put on turf it would be thoroughly researched. The reality is that it hasn’t!”
“The industry turns around and categorically says that it’s perfectly fine. They’ve done the research, ‘we have tested it for emissions for any gasses that come off it and there are none’. That’s fine, however, there is no research that I can find and I’ve scanned and scanned that says actually if you ingest this, if you rub this stuff into your wounds that contain these known carcinogens, there is no effect.”