The Year in Review: Crumb Rubber Panic Fades

In 2016, a debate over the use of crumb rubber infill in the artificial turf fields at Loudoun high schools dominated the headlines. Student athletes at the four schools that still had grass fields felt left behind; other parents were concerned that crumb rubber could be hazardous to students’ health.

But in January, a long-awaited study from the Washington State Department of Health found no evidence of higher cancer rates among student athletes who play on crumb rubber. The county looked into alternative infills anyway, but in February found they are significantly more expensive.

Since then, the School Board has moved ahead with plans to install artificial turf fields—likely with crumb rubber—at the few remaining high schools that do not have it.

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