What is Crumb Rubber and Why Should We Care?

Crumb rubber is often used to create safer surfaces for athletes.

Have you ever wondered what the small bits of rubber in your running shoes are made from or why we need to recycle them? You may have heard of crumb rubber being used as a cushioning material in playgrounds, but what exactly is it and why should we care?

Crumb Rubber – AKA Recycled Tire Rubber

Crumb rubber—also known as “recycled tire rubber”—is essentially a granulated rubber produced from recycled tires. The recycling process begins with shredding the used tires into small pieces. This can be done by hand, but it’s typically done mechanically using industrial grinders. Once shredded, the particles are then separated into different sizes for use in various applications such as playgrounds, running tracks, and artificial turf fields.

The Benefits of Rubber Recycling

The benefit of using crumb rubber comes from its durability and resilience. Additionally, once the tires are shredded, they can be reused multiple times which helps reduce waste production and landfill usage. It also helps create safer athletic surfaces for athletes and children alike. The cushioning effect of the rubber particles helps absorb shock, which reduces fatigue on joints during physical activity.

This makes it an ideal surface for running tracks, soccer fields, basketball courts, and more! Crumb rubber also provides traction which helps keep athletes from slipping and falling during play. In addition, the little pieces of rubber create an anti-slip surface that prevents people from getting injured while playing sports or walking on surfaces where they might otherwise slip or trip over loose material like gravel or sand.

Are VOCs an Issue With Crumb Rubber?

But crumb rubber isn’t all sunshine and rainbows; there are some potential health concerns associated with it as well. Studies have found that when crumb rubber is exposed to heat or friction during activities such as running or playing sports, it releases particles like benzene, carbon black, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air which can cause respiratory problems if inhaled. Ultimately though, more research needs to be done before any definitive conclusions can be drawn about the safety of crumb rubber exposure.

Crumb rubber has many benefits including its durability, resilience, shock absorption capabilities, and ability to reduce waste production. Despite this there are still some questions surrounding its safety due to the potential health risks associated with exposure to certain particles released from heated crumb rubber surfaces. Ultimately though more research needs to be done before any definitive conclusions can be drawn about its long-term effects on human health. For now however it remains a popular choice for many types of sport surfaces thanks to its numerous benefits such as reduced stress on joints during activities.