Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

‘Wake-up call’ in plastic pitch cancer campaign

Nigel Maguire has concerns over plastic pitches (Getty Images)
Nigel Maguire has concerns over plastic pitches (Getty Images)

Former NHS Cumbria chief Nigel Maguire said the fact the World Health Organisation had placed a chemical found in rubber on a list of substances that “probably cause cancer” should act as a “wake-up call”.

We recently revealed how Mr Maguire fears playing on astroturf pitches – which are treated with a substance called rubber crumb – gave son Lewis, 18, cancer.

He said: “This is the first time a reputable body has said there is a risk and it directly contradicts what football bodies and other sporting authorities are saying.

“It is a wake-up call to take this seriously and hopefully it will shake them out of their complacency. They need stop saying there is no evidence of risk because they can’t now.”

The WHO report claims a material in rubber, MBT, is cancer causing. It is reportedly found in everything from babies’ dummies to rubber gloves and shoe insoles.

It is also in the tiny rubber pellets that are spread across the artificial pitches currently at the centre of a cancer scare.

We were the first in the UK to expose how the rubber crumb used to make football pitches bouncy has been linked to hundreds of cancer cases in the US.

It is feared that players, particularly goalkeepers, have developed deadly conditions after accidentally swallowing the pellets while diving.

Mr Maguire and a growing lobby of campaigners are convinced there is a link between health problems and the substance.

But football authorities have rubbished the claims insisting synthetic pitches are safe.

Despite this, Mr Maguire, of Darlington, County Durham, called for an “immediate end to building new pitches while thorough research is done”.

At a meeting in France, 24 experts from eight countries said they were satisfied there was enough evidence to add MBT to its encyclopaedia of carcinogens.

The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer reviewed data on the substance, including a study of workers at a Welsh chemical factory.

The research, by Professor Tom Sorahan, of Birmingham University, linked MBT to bladder, bowel and types of blood cancer.

But the boffins behind the research also played down the impact of the chemical on public health.

Professor Sorahan said that while large amounts of MBT loose in factories could be dangerous, small amounts were not likely to be harmful.

He added: “I doubt whether MBT is a health issue for the general population.”

But Dr Michael Warhurst, of campaign group CHEM Trust, said: “People would be right to be concerned about this, and to ask retailers whether this chemical is present in products that they have bought.”

There are natural alternatives to rubber crumb but they are more expensive.


Former NHS boss fears his son developed cancer from football training on plastic pitches

Sunday Post investigation into links between artificial pitches and cancer causes a storm around the world