Evaluating the efficacy of playground washing to reduce environmental metal exposures

Mark Patrick Taylor*, Sammy Zahran, Louise Kristensen, Marek Rouillon

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Washing and wet mopping is often advocated as a remedial treatment to limit exposure to lead dust. Here, surface and pre- and post-play wipes were measured to ascertain dust metal exposures (arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead and zinc) following play routines at four playgrounds in the smelter city of Port Pirie, South Australia, which are washed regularly. Although post-play hand wipe metals were 55.9% (95% CI: -0.78, -0.34) lower on wash days, loadings increased ∼5.1% (95% CI: 1.2, 11.7) per hour after washing. Despite washing, post-play hand lead exceeded a conservative value of 800 μg/m2 within 24 h or sooner, with loadings increasing in proximity to the smelter. Post-play lead loadings were always >1000 μg/m2 at the playground closest to smelter. Playground washing results in short-lived exposure reduction and effective treatment requires elimination of smelter emissions. v

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)112-119
    Number of pages8
    JournalEnvironmental Pollution
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


    • Children
    • Contamination
    • Dust
    • Lead
    • Metals
    • Smelter


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