"Toxic Playgrounds"

"NEW ORLEANS -- No kid should ever play in arsenic. Especially at school. Yet many probably do, according to findings of a study presented today.

Howard Mielke of Tulane University's Center for Bioenvironmental Research and his colleagues were concerned about risks to children posed by old-style pressure treated wood, the type that has been infused with a chromated-copper-arsenic concoction to limit deterioration from rot and insects. This town is a veritable termite capital, so it made a reasonable place to look for treated wood.

Mielke’s group carried a portable X-ray fluorescence instrument into playgrounds to survey for arsenic. And they found it at 36 percent of the sites visited. A pilot study, this investigation only examined 38 playgrounds, but spanned the entire New Orleans metropolitan area."

Janet Raloff reports for Science News November 23, 2009.

Source: Science News, 11/25/2009