Manila Councilor Seeks Inspection and Remediation of Lead-Tainted Playground Equipment

A report showing excessive levels of lead in some play equipment in Manila children’s parks prompted a councilor to push for playground inspection and remediation to ensure public health and safety.

In a resolution filed last Thursday, Manila District II Councilor Numero G. Lim requested the city government to assess lead hazard in public playgrounds following a disclosure by a toxics watchdog that 55% of the play equipment samples it tested had lead-based paint in “mind-blowing” quantities.

Out of the 29 play equipment tested, lead was foundin 16 samples (55%) with levels ranging from “ND” (non detectable) to 200,700 parts per million (ppm), way beyond the lead in paint limit of 90 ppm under the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

The Dakota playground at the corner of Adriatico St.and Quirino Ave. in Malate was the “most toxic” with lead levels ranging from 44,800 ppm to 200,700 ppm in 5 out of 6samples.

“The lead levels found in some equipment are simply mind-blowing. Playgrounds should be safe from all sources of harm, including chemicals that can impair a child’s healthy development,” Councilor Lim said.

“Manila’s children deserve nothing less than lead-safe parks where they can play without any risk of being exposed to this brain-damaging substance,” he emphasized.

Roy Alvarez, President of the EcoWaste Coalition lauded Councilor Lim’s prompt action as he reiterated the need for speedy remedial action to safeguard children from mind-destroying lead chemical in paint.

Lead exposure in childhood has been associated with decreased intelligence, lower vocabulary and grammatical-reasoning scores, increased absenteeism, poorer eye-to-hand coordination, and lower class standing in school.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Healthy Environments for Children Alliance, “there is no known safe blood lead level but it is known that, as lead exposure increases, the range and severity of symptoms and effects also increases.”

One of the largest causes of lead exposure is lead-contaminated dust from decaying paint. Lead ingestion and poisoning typically occurs through hand-to-mouth activity.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, the use of lead paint on playground equipment may present a serious poisoning hazard for children under six years-old, especially when lead-based paint has deteriorated and flaked due to weather conditions, age and usage.