Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 1448–1459 | Cite as

Release of particles, organic compounds, and metals from crumb rubber used in synthetic turf under chemical and physical stress

  • Silvia CanepariEmail author
  • Paola Castellano
  • Maria Luisa Astolfi
  • Stefano Materazzi
  • Riccardo Ferrante
  • Dennis Fiorini
  • Roberta Curini
Research Article


The chemical and morphological characteristics of materials released under chemical and physical stress by different rubber granulates used as infill materials in synthetic turf (recycled scrap tires, natural rubber, and a new-generation thermoplastic elastomer) were compared.

The headspace solid-phase micro-extraction GC-MS analysis evidenced that at 70 °C natural rubber and thermoplastic elastomer release amounts of organic species much higher than recycled scrap tires. In particular, the desorption of mineral oils, with a prevalence of toxicologically relevant low-viscosity alkanes in the range C17–C22, and plasticizers (diisobutyl phthalate) was clearly evidenced. The new-generation thermoplastic elastomer material also releases butylated hydroxytoluene.

In slightly acidic conditions, quite high amounts of bio-accessible Zn, Cu, and Co are released from recycled scrap tires, while natural rubber releases mainly Se and Tl. In contrast, the thermoplastic elastomer does not contain significant concentrations of leachable heavy metals.

The formation of small particles, also in the inhalable fraction, was evidenced by electron microscopy after mechanical or thermal treatment of natural rubber.


Synthetic turf Crumb rubber Semi-volatile organic compounds Headspace solid-phase micro-extraction GC-MS Bio-accessible fraction of elements Inhalable particles 



This work was financed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Prevention, contract n. Prot. AOO-20/0001902/09. Dr. Angelo Marini is gratefully acknowledged for his valuable collaboration. Authors gratefully acknowledge Golden Plast S.p.A. (Potenza Picena, Italy) for providing the TPE new-generation material.

Supplementary material

11356_2017_377_MOESM1_ESM.docx (249 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 248 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chemistry DepartmentSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.Local Office of AostaINAIL-Italian Workers’ Compensation AuthorityAostaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Occupational HygieneINAIL-Italian Workers’ Compensation Authority, Research AreaRomeItaly
  4. 4.Chemistry Division, School of Science and TechnologyUniversity of CamerinoCamerinoItaly

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