Lead in Playgrounds

(Wikipedia Image)

Testing by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and some state and local jurisdictions has shown that many school, park, and community playgrounds across the United States have metal and wooden playground equipment that presents a potential lead paint poisoning hazard primarily for children six years old and younger.

CPSC testing revealed that some equipment was painted with lead paint, and over time, the paint has deteriorated into ingestable chips and dust containing lead.  In children, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, hearing problems, and growth retardation have been associated with sustained blood lead levels as low as 10 micrograms per deciliter (microg/dl).

The CPSC tested the paint for lead on public playground equipment from 26 playgrounds in 13 cities across the United States and found that equipment from 16 playgrounds in 11 cities had equipment with lead levels that exceed 0.5% by weight, (the federal government limit level).

The CPSC suggests case-by-case strategies for reducing the problem and recommends a lead hazard assessment which includes visual inspection, examination of records, paint testing, characterization of the hazard, identification of potential control measures, and a plan for setting priorities for the implementation of control measures.  For more information or a copy of the full report, telephone the CPSC Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or visit the CPSC Website:http://www.cpsc.gov

Art Hazard News, Volume 20, No. 4, 1997

This article was originally printed for Art Hazard News, © copyright Center for Safety in the Arts 1997. It appears on nontoxicprint courtesy of the Health in the Arts Program, University of Illinois at Chicago, who have curated a collection of these articles from their archive which are still relevant to artists today.