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Toxic levels of PAHs found in football and playground surfaces

The labour inspection department said Tuesday it has found five types of rubber surfaces used on football pitches and playgrounds that contain high quantities of toxic substances known as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, or PAHs.

In a statement, the department said five samples out of seven collected from six companies were found to exceed the legal limit for PAHs.

The samples had been collected in November 2018.

“The companies were notified in writing to immediately stop selling the surfaces in question on the Cypriot market,” the statement said, without naming the companies.

The inspections were part of the enforcement of the EU’s REACH directive which aims to improve the protection of human health and the environment through the better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances. This is done by the four processes of REACH, namely the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals.

Article five of REACH’s Annex XVII states: “Articles shall not be placed on the market for supply to the general public if any of their rubber or plastic components that come into direct as well as prolonged or short-term repetitive contact with the human skin or the oral cavity, under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use, contain more than 1mg/kg (0,0001% by weight of this component) of any of the listed PAHs.”

The eight PAHs are considered carcinogenic, mutagenic, and toxic.

Studies in the EU have proven that floors used on sports grounds and parks, which are made or contain granules from recycled car tyres contain the PAHs in question in quantities exceeding the permitted limit.

PAHs are also found in sports equipment such as bicycles, golf clubs and racquets, household utensils, trolleys, walking frames, tools for domestic use, clothing, footwear, gloves and sportswear watch-straps, wrist-bands, masks, and head-bands.

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