A pilot study of children's exposure to CCA-treated wood from playground equipment

S. L. Shalat, H. M. Solo-Gabriele, L. E. Fleming, B. T. Buckley, K. Black, M. Jimenez, T. Shibata, M. Durbin, J. Graygo, W. Stephan, G. Van De Bogart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Arsenic from chromated copper arsenate (CCA)-treated wood, widely used in playgrounds and other outdoor equipment, can persist as surface residues on wood. This raises concerns about possible health risks associated with children playing on CCA-treated playgrounds. In a Pilot Study, 11 children (13-71 months) in homes with and without CCA-treated playgrounds were evaluated with post-exposure hand rinses and urine for total arsenic. Samples of wood, soil, and mulch, as well as synthetic wipes, were sampled for total arsenic. In non-CCA-treated playgrounds vs. CCA-treated playgrounds, respectively, wood arsenic was < 2.0 mg/kg vs. mean arsenic 2370 mg/kg (range 1440-3270 mg/kg); soil arsenic was < 3.0 mg/kg vs. mean arsenic of 19 mg/kg (range 4.0-42 mg/kg); mulch arsenic at one non-CCA-treated playground was 0.4 mg/kg vs. two CCA-treated playgrounds of 0.6 and 69 mg/kg. The arsenic removed using a synthetic wipe at non-CCA-treated playgrounds was < 0.5 μg, while mean arsenic from CCA-treated wood was 117 μg (range 1.0-313). The arsenic mass from hand rinses for children who played at non-CCA-treated playgrounds was < 0.2 μg, while mean arsenic mass was 0.6 μg (range < 0.2-1.9) at CCA-treated playgrounds. Mean urinary total arsenic levels were 13.6 pg/ml (range 7.2-23.1 pg/ml) for all children evaluated, but there was no association between access to CCA-playgrounds and urinary arsenic levels. Arsenic speciation was not performed. This preliminary Pilot Study of CCA-treated wood playgrounds observed dislodgeable arsenic on 11 children's hands after brief periods of play exposure. Future efforts should increase the number of children and the play exposure periods, and incorporate speciation in order to discriminate between various sources of arsenic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-88
Number of pages9
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 15 2006


  • Arsenic
  • Chromate
  • Copper
  • Pediatric exposure
  • Wood treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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