Those who indulge in a weekly 5-a-side match with their mates may be playing with their lives as new research has suggested that artificial pitches pose a cancer threat.
A researcher has claimed to link artificial pitches to more than 158 cases of players developing cancer in the US.
Researcher Amy Griffin (50), a former goalkeeper and coach at the University of Washington, revealed that the number of young adults to develop cancer has increased since the introduction of artificial turf on campus, but admitted that the observations are not solidified in fact.
"I've coached for 26, 27 years," Griffin told NBC News.
"My first 15 years, I never heard anything about this. All of a sudden it seems to be a stream of kids."
Former goalkeeper Casey Sullivan, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at age 21, linked his diagnosis to artificial pitches after he saw a news report on a Seattle coach who compiled a list of former goalies who developed cancer after playing on turf pitches.
“I had an "a-ha moment."
"On my mind, my family's mind, was what caused the cancer. The doctors never had a good answer," Casey told NBC News.
"I know that goalkeepers ingest large amounts of the crumb rubber accidentally through playing on the surface. It's unavoidable," he said.
A report published in The Irish Daily Star claims that professional clubs in the UK have voiced their concerns with FIFA, after many have installed 3G pitches.
The rubber used to protect the surface is often made of old tyres and can contain mercury, lead, benzene and arsenic which can be carcinogenic.
However a FIFA spokesperson said the report “did not substantiate the assumption that cancer resulting from exposure to crumb rubber infill could potentially occur”.
Research conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency and Consumer Product Safety Commission found that the material was safe but recently admitted their studies into the subject were “limited”.