A former NHS boss believes the rubber pellets on 3G football pitches may have contributed to his son’s cancer.

Lewis Maguire, 18, from Darlington has Hodgkin lymphoma and his father Nigel Maguire is asking the government to review the use of 3G pitches.

Mr Maguire said: “Lewis would be in training on this stuff once or twice a week for four or five years, and he would come back telling me how he swallowed a lot of it, how it got into his eyes, and in cuts and grazes.
“I didn’t think anything of it, one wouldn’t, would you? You’d think if something that was licensed to be put on turf it would be thoroughly researched. The reality is that is hasn’t”.

The rubber pellets used on the pitches are to give it more bounce, however they are make from used car tyres and can contain toxic chemicals.

The pitches have been widely introduced because they can be used no matter the weather and this avoids postponement or cancellation of matches during the winter.

According to the Football Association, there are 500 3G pitches in England and are aware of the concerns over the pellets.

However the FA are happy with the current health guidelines but will continue to “monitor industry research”.
The Sports and Play Construction Association which is the trade organisation for sports facility construction industry in the UK, have said there were “numerous research studies carried out worldwide” and “the correct consensus is that the rubber crumbs poses no significant health risk”.

Mr Maguire has claimed that a $2m (£1.38m) review has begun in the United States and he wants the UK Government to conduct a similar review.

“The industry turns around and categorically says that it’s perfectly fine. They’ve done the research, ‘we have tested it for emissions for any gasses that come off it and there are none’. That’s fine, however, there is no research that I can find and I’ve scanned and scanned that says actually if you ingest this, if you rub this stuff into your wounds that contain these known carcinogens, there is no effect.

“I’m asking for similar review to be undertaken by our government to look at the available research, to commission research and look at the health impact”.