Arsenic in Play

Treated wood in playgrounds may pose health risks to kids

Tumbles and falls aren't the only hazards parents should worry about when they take their kids to the park or playground. Many parks have equipment built with arsenic-treated wood, reports this article from MSNBC. And, it's not just in the climbing equipment -- arsenic-laced wood is also used for benches, picnic tables, decks and wood chips.

If wood has a green tinge to it, that means it has been treated with a compound known as chromated-copper arsenate (CCA). CCA contains arsenic, copper and chromium. Arsenic is present to kill insects that might eat the wood. The problem is the arsenic may not be staying in the wood as expected.

"The chemicals used to treat wood can stay in it for 10 years or more," says Anne Lindsey from the Environmental Protection Agency. "We also know that it can slowly leach out of the wood, and that it can rub off or turn up in the dirt underneath the play areas. But we're not sure yet how much they [children] can be exposed to."

Because of this uncertainty, the EPA has ordered a "fast track" review of new studies on treated wood.

Of course, treated wood isn't the only thing you need to worry about when your little ones are at the park. This article from The Cincinnati Enquirer details common playground hazards.

Consumer News