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Research shows Broken Hill children affected by contaminated playgrounds

Research shows Broken Hill children affected by contaminated playgrounds
October 17, 2014

High levels of toxic dust discovered in playgrounds in Broken Hill in far western NSW could affect children's heart and kidney health.

A Macquarie University study discovered dust containing high levels of metals such as arsenic, lead, silver and zinc in playgrounds in Broken Hill.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Research, found more than 20% of Broken Hill children under five had levels of lead in their blood higher than the national standard of 10 micrograms per decilitre.

The amount of lead on children's hands after 10 minutes of play in Broken Hill playgrounds was 72 times the amount on their hands before contact with play equipment, the study found.

Macquarie University environmental science Professor Mark Taylor said the substances could affect children's heart and kidney health.

Professor Taylor told the ABC "the effects are also very short term in affecting their school performance.

"I think it's a call to arms, as it were, in terms that we now need to look at the situation and go 'well we can't leave it as it is'.

"The information is really clear that we need to intervene.

"We know that Broken Hill children are being adversely impacted by these exposures through the elevated blood lead levels."

Professor Taylor added that the risks associated with metal-rich airborne dusts in playgrounds had previously received little attention compared to lead exposures in home environments. He added that arsenic and cadmium had not received much attention in terms of how they affected health.

Broken Hill has a population of more than 19,000 people and a history of mining metals including lead, zinc and silver.

A NSW Health spokesman said the Broken Hill community had long been aware of the concerns and should continue with abatement measures, including ensuring children wash their hands after play.

Professor Taylor said mining company Perilya had erected signs warning children to wash their hands, and that Broken Hill City Council was set to do the same. 

2nd May 2013 - STUDY SUGGESTS PLAYGROUNDS A SOURCE OF LEAD EXPOSURE IN PORT PIRIE 

12th April 2012 - NEW PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT STANDARD PUBLISHED 

14th March 2012 - NEARLY HALF OF AUSSIE KIDS DON’T PLAY EVERY DAY, STUDY FINDS

13th March 2012 - KIWI CHILDREN DEPRIVED OF CRUCIAL PLAY TIME  

6th December 2011 - PRIME MINISTER ENCOURAGES CHILDREN TO PLAY SPORT

‚Äč27th August 2011 - POSITIVE SPORTING EXPERIENCES KEY FOR CHILDREN’S DEVELOPMENT

13th October 2010 - NEW HANDBOOKS EXPLAIN MANAGING RISK IN SPORT AND RECREATION


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