Daily News Archive
From April 23, 2001

Poison Playgrounds

Wooden playground sets may be treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA), a wood preservative that may cause cancer. An Orlando Sentinel article reported that four Florida playgrounds have been shut down due to unsafe arsenic levels from CCA treated play equipment leaching into the soil.

Officials have voted to tear down the Port Orange All Children's Park, an 11-year-old wooden playground, due to high levels of arsenic in the soil. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) considers 0.8 parts per million (ppm) of arsenic to be "safe" for neighborhoods. The Port Orange playground soil arsenic levels measured 26ppm. Officials said that they would put new play equipment elsewhere in the park, and remove the top 10 inches of topsoil from the site.

Health officials have recommended that parents paint playground sets made of pressure-treated wood with a water-resistant sealant to help protect children from exposure to CCA.

Exposure to unsafe levels of arsenic can cause lung, bladder and skin cancer, damage to the central nervous system, cardiovascular disease, reproductive problems and birth defects.