|Children playing at the QMC playground. Photo from EcoWaste Coalition
MANILA, Philippines – Dangerous levels of lead have been detected in the playground of the Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC) in Quezon City, an environmental watchdog warned.
EcoWaste Coalition said it has screened 25 exercise and play equipment at the QMC playground, with 19 of them having 151 parts per million to over 100,000 ppm of lead.
This is way above the United States’ regulatory limit of 90 ppm for lead in paint, the group noted.
“Many of the yellow and green steel equipment at the picnic area show visible effects of wear and weathering such as chipping and peeling lead-based paint, particularly in the hand rails,” Thony Dizon, coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect, said in a statement.
“This is dangerous as children could directly touch and ingest lead chips or dust from the eroded equipment,” he added.
EcoWaste Coalition said even signages around the QMC have thousands of ppm of lead, which could cause problems in a person’s reproductive, nervous, cardiovascular and digestive systems.
Lead absorbed by the fetus can also cause difficulties during pregnancy such as miscarriage, premature birth and low birth weight.
Given these, the group urged Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista to replace the equipment in question with non-lead ones, or coat them with lead-free paint.
EcoWaste Coalition also asked Bautista to check lead levels in the soil to see if the chemical has built up in places where children often gather and play.
“We further ask the QC government to make the QMC a lead-free zone and to ensure that all forms of toxic exposure inside the park, a refuge for urban dwellers, is proactively prevented,” it said.