Labs Say Toxic Lead is Present at this D.C. Elementary School Playground

Nathan Baca, ABC7: May 6, 2019.

Children play at Janney Elementary School’s playground in DC’s Tenleytown neighborhood. Their families did not know that at the same time, two scientific laboratories found extremely high levels of toxic lead inside the recycled tires that made the bouncy floor of this playground.

“Our certified third-party lab identified lead in rubber crumbs up to about 7,000 parts per million,” said Jeff Gearhart, Research Director of the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

For the test results, click here.

The Ecology Center and TUV Rheinland lab of Arkansas tested individual crumb rubber samples gathered by parent group “Safe and Healthy Playing Fields.” Those recycled tire pieces were gathered from well-worn and pitted areas of the rubber flooring, while observed by 7 On Your Side.

Janney Elementary was chosen by the parent group for the first test due to the deteriorating condition of the 2011 “poured in place” rubber installation.

Ecology Center’s lab results show around a quarter of Janney Elementary’s recycled tire playground samples showed lead at what scientists call dangerous levels: more than 1,000 parts per million. Two samples showed lead at 7,000 parts per million.

“We’re concerned about this level of lead in playground materials. Regulatory levels are not well established for this material. For comparison, you can look at the level of lead that’s allowed in children’s products, in toys, which is 100 parts per million. So the level we’re seeing in some of these rubber crumbs is are several orders of magnitude higher than what’s allowed in children’s products,” explained Gearhart.

Diana Zuckerman, President of the National Center for Health Research added, “I can’t say I’m surprised about these numbers, but it’s very upsetting.” Zuckerman explained what could happen if kids accidentally eat the small rubber particles, “Cognitive damage. Kids can lose IQ points. They can lose a lot of IQ points if their exposure is high enough.”

“Our kids safety and their health is important and they need to figure out a way to fix it and fast because our kids go here and they play on that every time they’re here,” said Janney Elementary parent Ida Harvey after being shown the Ecology Center’s report.

“I think they’re going to have to close it down until they find a resolution, an alternative, for it,” said Janney parent Max Wickham.[…]

See the original story here.