EARTH Finds Outdoor Play Equipment Coated with Dangerous Levels of Lead
For Immediate Release
21 October 2019
Bangkok, Thailand: High levels of lead have been discovered on public playground equipment. The painted play equipment containing dangerous levels of lead poses a serious lead poisoning risk for young children. Environmental health advocates call for urgent action to enforce the ban on the sale and use of lead paint, especially for applications that can expose children to lead contamination.
The Ecological Alert and Recovery - Thailand (EARTH) sounded the alarm over lead-painted play equipment as the UN-backed International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action is observed from October 20-26 with the focus on eliminating lead paint.
According to the report “Lead in Playground Equipment in Thailand, 20 out of 24 analyzed playground equipment had total lead concentrations above 90 parts per million (ppm), the strictest regulatory standard in the world, and above 100 ppm, the mandatory regulatory standard of Thailand. In addition, 14 of such lead-coated playground equipment had dangerously high lead levels above 10,000 ppm.
The group detected the lead-coated playground equipment in public playgrounds located in Benjakitti Park and Lumphini Park of Bangkok City, using a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) chemicals analyzer.
“The high levels of lead detected in the paint of outdoor playground equipment are very worrisome and unacceptable. The paint will deteriorate with repeated use and exposure to sun and rain. This will cause the paint to peel and get into the dust and soil, which can be ingested by children through common hand-to-mouth behaviour,” said Akarapon Teebthaisong, Research and Technical Officer, EARTH.
Prepared in collaboration with IPEN, a global network of public interest NGOs for a toxics-free future, including EARTH, the report highlights the importance of urgent actions to enforce the ban on lead paint for all purposes, especially for decoration and coatings on products that can contaminate children’s environment.
The study was undertaken to raise public awareness about the presence of lead paint in children’s playgrounds and persuade the authorities to take decisive actions, including the implementation of lead paint laws and the promotion of safety measures to reduce lead dust hazards when old lead painted play equipment are renovated, repainted or replaced.
“Lead-containing dust and soil is the major pathway by which lead in paint contributes to children’s lead exposure, which can adversely affect their health throughout their lives. The findings of EARTH should trigger a review as to how the country’s lead paint regulations are being enforced and how these can be strengthened,” said Jeiel Guarino, Global Lead Paint Elimination Campaigner, IPEN.
Both EARTH and IPEN are pushing for the effective enforcement of lead paint laws and regulations to ensure that children and other vulnerable groups such as women and workers are protected from lead exposure.
The groups also recommend that the Department of Health and Department of Environment of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), promote the procurement and use of lead-safe paints for painting and maintenance of public playground equipment, facilities, structures, and toys offered to children.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Lead exposure affects human health, especially for children. There is no known level of lead exposure without harmful effects. Even low levels of lead exposure may cause lifelong health problems.”
“Lead is especially dangerous to children’s developing brains and can cause reduced intelligence quotient (IQ) and attention span, impaired learning ability, and increased risk of behavioural problems. These health impacts also have significant economic costs to countries,” the WHO said.
As stated by Dr Maria Neira, Director of WHO’s Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, “Lead paint represents one of the most widespread sources of lead exposure to infants and children. Yet lead paint still lurks in homes, in schools and on toys. Banning lead paint now can prevent future exposures. This is a very good investment in your health, and in the health of your children.”
The WHO has warned that “childhood lead exposure is estimated to contribute to about 600,000 new cases of children with intellectual disabilities every year.”
EARTH is a Thai environmental, non-profit and non-governmental foundation promoting environmental and health sustainability, and healthier public policies.
IPEN is a global network of over 500 public interest groups in 121 countries working to reduce and eliminate the harm to human health and the environment from toxic chemicals.
More Information, please contact: Akarapon Teebthaisong, Research and Technical Officer, EARTH, Tel: +66 92 958 9908, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org