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Arsenic on Children’s Hands after Playing in Playgrounds

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      Partitioning and speciation of chromium, copper, and arsenic in CCA-contaminated soils: influence of soil composition.

      This study focused on the influence of soil composition and physicochemical characteristics on the retention and partitioning of Cu, Cr and As in nine chromated copper arsenate (CCA) artificially contaminated soils. A statistical mixture design was used to set up the number of soils and their respective composition. Sequential extraction and modified solvent extraction were used to assess Cu and Cr partitioning and As speciation [As(III) or As(V)]. It was found that peat had a strong influence on CEC (232 meq/100 g), on buffer capacity and on Cu and Cr retention, whereas kaolinite's contribution to the CEC was minor (38 meq/100 g). Average metal retention in mineral soils was low (58% for Cu and 23% for Cr) but increased dramatically in highly organic soils (96% for Cu and 78% for Cr). However, both organic and mineral soils demonstrated a very high sorption of added As (71-81%). Levels of Cu and Cr in a soluble or exchangeable form (F1) in highly organic soils were very low, whereas the levels strongly bound to organic matter were much higher. Conversely, in mineral soils, 47% of Cu and 18% of Cr were found in F1. As a result, Cr and Cu in moderately and highly organic contaminated soils were present in less mobile and less bioavailable forms, whereas in mineral soils, the labile fraction was higher. The modified method used for selective determination of mineral As species in CCA-contaminated soils was found to be quantitative and reliable. Results revealed that arsenic was principally in the pentavalent state. Nevertheless, in organic soils, arsenite was found in significant proportions (average value of 29% in highly organic soils). This indicates that some reduction of arsenate to arsenite occurred since the original species in CCA is As(V).
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        Arsenic on the Hands of Children after Playing in Playgrounds

        Increasing concerns over the use of wood treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA) in playground structures arise from potential exposure to arsenic of children playing in these playgrounds. Limited data from previous studies analyzing arsenic levels in sand samples collected from CCA playgrounds are inconsistent and cannot be directly translated to the amount of children’s exposure to arsenic. The objective of this study was to determine the quantitative amounts of arsenic on the hands of children in contact with CCA-treated wood structures or sand in playgrounds. We compared arsenic levels on the hands of 66 children playing in eight CCA playgrounds with levels of arsenic found on the hands of 64 children playing in another eight playgrounds not constructed with CCA-treated wood. The children’s age and duration of playtime were recorded at each playground. After play, children’s hands were washed in a bag containing 150 mL of deionized water. Arsenic levels in the hand-washing water were quantified by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Our results show that the ages of the children sampled and the duration of play in the playgrounds were similar between the groups of CCA and non-CCA playgrounds. The mean amount of water-soluble arsenic on children’s hands from CCA playgrounds was 0.50 μg (range, 0.0078–3.5 μg). This was significantly higher (p < 0.001) than the mean amount of water-soluble arsenic on children’s hands from non-CCA playgrounds, which was 0.095 μg (range, 0.011–0.41 μg). There was no significant difference in the amount of sand on the children’s hands and the concentration of arsenic in the sand between the CCA and non-CCA groups. The higher values of arsenic on the hands of children playing in the CCA playgrounds are probably due to direct contact with CCA-treated wood. Washing hands after play would reduce the levels of potential exposure because most of the arsenic on children’s hands was washed off with water. The maximum amount of arsenic on children’s hands from the entire group of study participants was < 4 μg, which is lower than the average daily intake of arsenic from water and food.
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          Contamination of soil with copper, chromium, and arsenic under decks built from pressure treated wood.


            Author and article information

            Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering École Polytechnique de Montréal Montréal, Québec, E-mail: gerald.zagury@
            Environ Health Perspect
            Environmental Health Perspectives
            National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
            August 2005
            : 113
            : 8
            : A508
            This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose.

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