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STUDY: Safety agency warns on use of play sets by children
JOURNAL: Consumer Product Safety Commission
AUTHORS: Paul Bogart
ABSTRACT: Playing on arsenic-treated wooden playground equipment can slightly increase children’s risk of getting lung or bladder cancer later in life, according to a report released by U.S. safety regulators.
COMMENTARY: Contact with equipment treated with an arsenic compound called chromated copper arsenate can increase the risk of the types of cancer by anywhere from two to 100 per million, a staff report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission concluded.
“It confirms what people outside the CPSC have suspected and some studies have shown — that arsenic does leach from this wood and there’s a risk associated with it for people who use it,” said Paul Bogart, a spokesman for an environmentalist group called the Healthy Building Network, which has petitioned the commission to ban the sale of arsenic-treated wood.
The increased risk is mostly due to arsenic residue that children get on their hands, then ingest because of hand-to-mouth contact, the commission staff concluded.
The amount of added risk varies depending on how much contact children have with the treated-wood equipment, the agency staff said. “While exposure to arsenic from (other) sources could be much higher than the exposure from playgrounds for some children, exposure to arsenic from CCA-treated playgrounds could be a significant source of arsenic for other children on those days that include a playground visit,” the agency’s chairman, Hal Stratton, said in a statement.
Chromated copper arsenate, or CCA, has been used to protect wood from leaching, erosion and pests for more than 70 years. Pressure-treated wood, as it is commonly known, is most often used outdoors in decks and playgrounds.