Associate Member of the Netherlands Society of Cinematographers (NSC)

Director: Roelof Bosma
Production: Zembla

Immediately after the ZEMBLA episode about the potential health risks associated with playing sports on crumb-rubber artificial turf aired in October 2016, the then minister of Health, Welfare and Sport, Edith Schippers, ordered the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) to conduct a study. In view of the tremendous social unrest, it was a rush request: the research had to be finished by Christmas. Parents of children who played football were extremely concerned. Football clubs and municipalities took precautionary measures. Numerous clubs either did away with their artificial turf pitches for the time being or no longer allowed young players and goalies to practise or play on them. Some clubs postponed installing pitches; others replaced the infill material. For example, the municipality of Amsterdam announced that it would not install any more crumb-rubber pitches, and Ajax replaced the rubber on its pitches with cork. Two months later, in mid-December, the RIVM put an end to the agonized waiting and delivered the news: the artificial turf was safe. The harmful substances in the rubber crumbs, which are made from ground-up used car tyres, are scarcely released. Consequently, the risk is negligible, according to the RIVM. The green light was given. Nevertheless, not everyone was reassured. ZEMBLA investigated whether the case of the dangers of crumb-rubber artificial turf could truly be closed.