Pressure treated wooden playground structures do not live up to the bad reputation they have earned as being harmful to children, according to the findings of a new University of Alberta study.
Chris Le, a scientist in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, can put to rest any safety concerns regarding playgrounds made of chromated copper arsenate-treated wood. This is good news to parents planning to begin the summer ritual of taking their children to the local playground.
The study compared arsenic levels in urine and saliva samples of children playing in eight pressure treated wooden playgrounds and those in eight playgrounds made of other materials. The study found no significant difference in the concentration of arsenic species in children playing on playgrounds with or without the chemically-treated wood. The study suggests that contact with CCA treated wood in playgrounds is not likely to significantly contribute to the overall arsenic exposure in children.
Around 70 per cent of playgrounds in North America are made with pressure-treated wood. Le and his group want to encourage children to stay physically active, just make sure to wash their hands after play.
Le’s findings are published in the May 15 edition of Environmental Science & Technology.
Le is available Thursday and Friday afternoon this week.