KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 25 – Playgrounds in Penang have recorded dangerously high levels of lead, according to a recent study.
A study commissioned by the International Persistent Organic Pollutants Elimination Network (Ipen) and carried out in Malaysia by the Consumer Association of Penang (CAP) analysed 10 playgrounds – nine in Penang, one in Kedah – with painted play equipment’s physical details and the condition of painted surfaces being observed and documented.
“The concerning data was released during the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (October 20-26, 2019) spearheaded by the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint that is observing its 10th anniversary this year,” Malaysiakini quoted Ipen saying.
The highest reading was recorded in a playground in Fort Cornwallis, Georgetown, with lead levels of 620,000 parts per million (ppm), reportedly found in a multi-layered yellow metallic handle structure.
This is almost 7,000 times greater than the recommended limit of 90ppm issued by the United Nations Environment Programme.
It was also the second-highest reading within the five countries that Ipen conducted lead level studies in.
Malaysiakini reported that the study also indicated that paint chips from 13 out of the 17 pieces of playground equipment contained total lead concentrations above 90ppm.
Eleven analysed playground equipment contained dangerously high lead levels above 10,000ppm.
The only playground in Kedah, reportedly recorded undetected lead levels for red-painted equipment and a relatively low level of 112ppm for yellow-painted equipment.
Lead paint can cause permanent and irreversible brain damage in children.
The Ipen study said that apart from Malaysia, excessive lead levels were also recorded in playground equipment in Mexico and the Philippines.
The analysis included a range of children’s equipment in the playgrounds, namely climbing bars, and structures, ramps, rockers, see-saws, slides and swings.