Artificial turf fields may be INJECTING CANCER directly into your player’s blood stream. Every time they get a scrape or scratch from hitting the turf, they risk injecting known carcinogens, directly into their bloodstream, as well as bacteria, viruses and other microbes that may also cause cancer.
There is a new story about a 31-year-old father – a soccer goalkeeper – in San Antonio, Texas, who has recently contracted a very rare form of cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma. Rhabdomyosarcoma is so rare in fact, that no more than 400 adults have been diagnosed with it in the last 30 years! And the survival rate for adults with rhabdomyosarcoma is just 1-in-4.
However, while rhabdomyosarcoma is very rare in adults, it’s not nearly as rare in children, attacking about 400 kids every year. Most are under the age of 10, and are said to be most often linked to “congenital disorders“.
While this is a new story – and the cancer rare – the stories of cancer in young athletes who play on artificial turf is NOT new. The cancer link to synthetic turf is actually quite a common suggestion. An unpublished study by Rutgers University examined crumb rubber from synthetic fields in New York City and found six carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons at levels excessive to state regulations. In 2014, Amy Griffin, soccer coach at the University of Washington, surveyed American players of the sport who had developed cancer. Of 38 players, 34 were goalkeepers – a position in which diving to the surface makes accidental ingestion or blood contact with crumb rubber, much more likely. Lymphoma and leukemia – cancers of the blood – were the most common.
It’s not just the carcinogens in crumb rubber that are causing cancer, though. It’s bacteria and viruses as well, that are harbored in indoor sports facilities, which never see rain or sun, and subsequently, are never cleaned. For decades, we were taught that bacteria and viruses did NOT cause cancer, but now we know that many viruses do. The most documented viruses associated with human cancers are human papillomavirus, hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus, Epstein–Barr virus, human T-lymphotropic virus, Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and Merkel cell polyomavirus. Human papillomavirus (hpv), is well documented to cause cancer anywhere that the virus might rest for a period of time – most likely from sexual contact. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections lead to cirrhosis of the liver and are responsible for making liver cancer the most common cancer in many parts of the world.
Helicobacter pylori is a common bacteria known to cause ulcers and lead to stomach cancer. While most commonly documented as transmitted sexually, it can easily be transmitted through shared contact with artificial turf.
And those are the KNOWN bacteria and viruses that cause these cancers. There is no possible way to know what every bacteria or virus may do, when injected directly into the blood stream, via a scrape or cut, but any virus and bacteria can easily end up in your system, via a cut or scratch.
Interestingly, injecting microbes into the bloodstream via cuts is NOTHING NEW.
In 1801, Thomas Jefferson vaccinated “70 or 80 of my own family” against smallpox, by making a small cut with a knife and placing dead cow pox virus cells directly on the wound, to get it into the bloodstream. Jefferson was vaccinated himself in 1766 for smallpox using the same method, and then used a similar method (very experimental at the time) to vaccinate his family, friends, neighbors and slaves – about 200 people in all.
The microbes (carcinogens, viruses & bacteria) that are harbored in indoor sports facilities are limitless, and if you’ve ever been in one, you know that the humid environment is perfect for them to thrive. Scrapes and scratches from sliding on the turf are VERY common, and the longer people compete on artificial turf, the more common it will be to hear about athletes contracting rare forms of cancer.
Can a scratch lead to cancer? Of course, this is all just speculative, until real research is done to determine if all this cancer is just a bizarre coincidence, or if the fields our children play on are really the cause.