Lead-based paint on playground equipment in public children’s parks in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni, South Africa
Methods: Forty-nine public parks were selected from the municipalities of Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane. Lead levels in paint on playground equipment were measured in situ using a handheld Thermo Scientific NITON® XLP 700 Series x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer.
Results: Playground lead levels ranged from “too low to detect” to 10.4 mg/cm2. The mean and median lead concentrations were 1.9 and 0.9 mg/cm2 respectively. Forty-eight percent of lead paint measurements exceeded the internationally accepted reference level of 1 mg/cm2.
Conclusion: This study shows that lead-based paint is widely used in public children’s playgrounds in the three study municipalities, and most likely throughout South Africa. We suggest key actions to ensure that children’s playgrounds in South Africa are lead-free zones, and that childhood lead exposure in these settings is prevented
Angela Mathee, Medical Research Council
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Date published: 2009-11-05
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