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Playground Safety


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The Center for Environmental Health

The Safe Playgrounds Project

New online resource (www.safe2play.org) from the Center for Environmental Health provides important health and safety information about arsenic and pressure-treated wood. In backyards, parks and playgrounds throughout the United States, there are decks, picnic tables and play sets made of wood that has been treated with arsenic. Arsenic, widely used since the 1970’s to protect the wood from rotting, is continually released to the wood’s surface and can then get onto children’s hands. Young children, in particular, are at risk of ingesting (swallowing) arsenic when they put their hands in their mouths after touching arsenic-treated wood.

Arsenic is known to cause skin, bladder and lung cancer and is linked to a host of negative health impacts such as immune system suppression and diabetes. Adults are also potentially at risk of acute arsenic poisoning if they unknowingly try to saw, sand or burn arsenic-treated wood. In 2002, it was estimated that 90% of existing outdoor structures were made of CCA-treated wood.

The Safe Playgrounds Project provides recommendations on ways to minimize exposure to arsenic from pressure-treated wood found at schools, child care facilities, public parks and backyards. The website provides important health and safety information about the dangers posed to young children and the general public from the use of CCA-treated wood, how to obtain a simple arsenic test kit, safety precautions and simple steps to protect you and your family from arsenic exposure, as well as answers to frequently asked questions. Some materials are also available in Spanish and Chinese.

Please visit the Center for Environmental Health’s Safe Playgrounds Project website or call our toll-free hotline at 1-877-604-KIDS.

 

 

 

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