Evaluation of chemicals of environmental concern in crumb rubber and water leachates from several types of synthetic turf football pitches

Maria Celeiro, Daniel Armada, Nuno Ratola, Thierry Dagnac, Jacob de Boer, Maria Llompart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Nowadays concern exists about the safety for both football players and the environment of recycled tire rubber used as infill in synthetic turf football pitches. In this study 40 target compounds, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), plasticizers, antioxidants and vulcanization agents were determined in 50 synthetic football pitches of diverse characteristics to estimate environmental risks. This is the first study of crumb rubber sport facilities in Portugal. Analyses were performed by ultrasound-assisted extraction followed by gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UAE-GC-MS/MS). To evaluate the transfer of the target chemicals from the crumb rubber to the runoff water, water leachates collected from several football pitches were analyzed by solid-phase microextraction (SPME-GC-MS/MS). In addition, lab-scale runoff simulation experiments were performed to assess whether a persistent inflow of the target compounds from the football pitches into the runoff water wcould exist. Results revealed the presence of most of the target PAHs in crumb rubber at total concentrations up to 57 μg g−1, next to a high number of plasticizers and vulcanization agents. Runoff water collected from the football pitches contained up to 13 PAHs as well as other chemicals of environmental concern. In addition, continuous leaching of chemicals from the crumb rubber to the surrounding water was demonstrated. The transfer of target chemicals into the runoff water poses a potential risk for the aquatic environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number128610
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Early online date19 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


This research was supported by projects RETOS PID2019-104336RB-100 ( Ministry of Science and Innovation , Spain), and UNST10-1E-491 (Infrastructure Program, Ministry of Science and Innovation , Spain). The authors of CRETUS and AGACAL belong to the National Network for the Innovation in miniaturized sample preparation techniques, RED2018-102522-T (Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, Spain), to the Galician Competitive Research Groups IN607B 2019/13 and ED431 2020/06 and to the CRETUS Strategic Partnership ED431 2018/01 (Xunta de Galicia). This study is based upon work from COST Action CA16215. All these programmes are co-funded by FEDER (UE). This work was also financially supported by: (i) Base Funding UIDB/00511 2020 of the Laboratory for Process Engineering, Environment, Biotechnology and Energy (LEPABE), by national funds through the FCT/ MCTES (PIDDAC); (ii) Project SAFEGOAL (Ref. PTDC/EQU-EQU/28101/2017; POCI-01-0145-FEDER-028101), funded by FEDER funds through COMPETE2020 – Programa Operacional Competitividade e Internacionalização (POCI) and by national funds (PIDDAC) through FCT/ MCTES . N.R. thanks the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology ( FCT ) for the financial support of his work contract through the Scientific Employment Stimulus - Institutional Call - [ CEECINST/00049/2018 ].

FundersFunder number
Scientific Employment StimulusCEECINST/00049/2018
Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y UniversidadesED431 2020/06, IN607B 2019/13, ED431 2018/01
European Cooperation in Science and TechnologyUIDB/00511 2020
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Ministerio de Ciencia e InnovaciónUNST10-1E-491
Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino SuperiorPOCI-01-0145-FEDER-028101, PTDC/EQU-EQU/28101/2017
Fundació Catalana de Trasplantament
Xunta de Galicia


    • Hazardous chemicals
    • Leaching of chemicals
    • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
    • Recycled crumb rubber
    • Synthetic turf football pitches


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