University of Miami athlete Austen Everett died from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2012. Her mother said it was soon after that, as she found out about even more sick players, that she came to believe that artificial turf used on soccer fields was the culprit.
"I realized, 'Oh my God, the thing that she loved most probably killed her,'" June Leahy told NBC News. "And that was hard." Leahy says since her daughter's death, she still hasn't gotten enough answers — or action from lawmakers and regulators.
Crumb rubber turf, which is used in thousands of U.S. schools, parks and professional stadiums, is made from pulverized tires — which can contain carcinogens — and green nylon blades of fake grass. No research has linked crumb or shredded rubber to cancer, and the turf industry says dozens of studies have shown the surface poses no health risk. Some parents and activists, however, say there should be more testing and that federal regulators should take a position on its safety.