My son's cancer was caused by synthetic football pitches, claims former NHS boss

Nigel Maguire took early retirement to look after his 18-year-old son, Lewis, who contracted Hodgkin's Lymphoma

A former NHS boss has said that artificial football pitches could be the cause behind his son's cancer.

Nigel Maguire took early retirement to look after his 18-year-old son, Lewis, a keen footballer who has Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a rare cancer that attacks the immune system.

Mr Maguire claims that years of playing on synthetic football pitches is what caused the cancer and now he wants them banned.

He warns the rubber pellets that give the artificial turf its bounce contain substances such as mercury, lead, benzene and arsenic, and that players who come into close contact with it - like his son, who plays in goal - risk illness.

"He used to come home with his kit covered in the stuff. We’d have to scrape it off," he was quoted by MailOnline as saying.

"The more I look into it, the more horrified I am. Anyone who thinks swallowing half a teaspoon a week of that stuff is a good idea is barking mad."

Mr Maguire has now started a campaign to raise awareness.

And he is not alone - earlier this month Jacqueline Ablett, the widow of former Liverpool footballer Gary Ablett, called for more research into 3G football pitches, according to a report in the Mirror.

Gary Ablett died from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2012.

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