Environmental lead exposure risks associated with children's outdoor playgrounds

Mark Patrick Taylor*, Danielle Camenzuli, Louise Jane Kristensen, Miriam Forbes, Sammy Zahran

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    64 Citations (Scopus)


    This study examines exposure risks associated with lead smelter emissions at children's public playgrounds in Port Pirie, South Australia. Lead and other metal values were measured in air, soil, surface dust and on pre- and post-play hand wipes. Playgrounds closest to the smelter were significantly more lead contaminated compared to those further away (t(27.545) = 3.76; p =.001). Port Pirie post-play hand wipes contained significantly higher lead loadings (maximum hand lead value of 49,432 μg/m2) than pre-play hand wipes (t(27) = 3.57, p =.001). A 1% increase in air lead (μg/m3) was related to a 0.713% increase in lead dust on play surfaces (95% CI, 0.253-1.174), and a 0.612% increase in post-play wipe lead (95% CI, 0.257-0.970). Contaminated dust from smelter emissions is determined as the source and cause of childhood lead poisoning at a rate of approximately one child every third day.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)447-454
    Number of pages8
    JournalEnvironmental Pollution
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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