Toxic paint containing much more than the recommended amount of lead has been found in playgrounds in the south east of England.
Scientists from Plymouth University recently published research in the Science of the Total Environment journal -which involved testing the content of paints on play equipment at 50 parks in Cornwall, Devon, Hampshire and Somerset.
Expert Dr Andrew Turner said the levels were “completely avoidable”.
European rules drawn up in 1977 suggest paint for playgrounds should contain no more than 0.25% lead, but in one park in Plymouth, which was built in 2009, playground equipment recorded a 10% presence of the chemical element.
Lead is listed among the top 10 “chemicals of major public health concern”, by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Dr Andrew Turner, from Plymouth University, said the general consensus in the US and many European countries today was for paint to have a lead level of around 0.009%.
He added that the tests showed that despite what people may think, it’s not older playgrounds that are more dangerous and that it was fair to surmise that the findings would be similar across the UK
The presence of lead is more of a danger to children than adults, as their bodies are still developing. The accumulative effects of ingesting lead can cause neurological and cognitive problems.
Dr Turner says parents should be vigilant and make sure their children wash their hands after playing on equipment. He has also called for stricter controls to be applied to domestic and imported paints used for playgrounds – and for equipment that is pre-painted before installation.
Eton Environmental Group provides a full lead survey of buildings or specific locations where work is to be carried out that may involve disturbance of paint coatings. If you would like to find out more please visit our specific lead paint testing service page or call or email us for a free, no-obligation quote.