Hazardous compounds in recreational and urban recycled surfaces made from crumb rubber. Compliance with current regulation and future perspectives

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

385 Downloads (Pure)


Crumb rubber obtained from scrap tires is greatly employed for the construction of different facilities for sport, recreational and other uses. However, in recent years the concern about their safety and the related adult and children exposure to these surfaces is growing. This study aims a thorough chemical characterization encompassing 42 hazardous compounds, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), phthalates, adipates, antioxidants and vulcanization agents in a wide range of crumb rubber from different surfaces. For the extraction of the target compounds, a method based on ultrasound-assisted extraction followed by gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UAE-GC–MS/MS) has been validated. Forty crumb rubber samples coming from synthetic turf football pitches, outdoor and indoor playgrounds, urban pavements, commercial tiles and granulates, and scrap tires, were analyzed. In addition, green alternative materials, such as sand and artificial turf based on cork granulate infill were included to compare the levels of the target compounds with those of crumb rubber. Most of the analyzed recycled surfaces meet the recent limits proposed by the European Commission for rubber granulates and mulches, although they exceed in several cases the maximum levels allowed for rubber consumer products. Besides, most of the other target compounds, including several of them considered as endocrine disruptors, were detected in the analyzed samples, reaching parts per million concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number142566
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue numberPart 1
Early online date29 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 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 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). All these programs are co-funded by FEDER (UE).

FundersFunder number
Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, SpainED431 2020/06, IN607B 2019/13, ED431 2018/01
Ministerio de Ciencia e InnovaciónUNST10-1E-491
European Regional Development Fund
Xunta de Galicia


    • Crumb rubber
    • Gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry
    • Hazardous organic compounds
    • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
    • Public health
    • Recycled rubber play surfaces


    Dive into the research topics of 'Hazardous compounds in recreational and urban recycled surfaces made from crumb rubber. Compliance with current regulation and future perspectives'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this