Environmental health and safety : Wisconsin playground heavy metal soil survey
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The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (WDPI) administers environmental education programs supervised by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). These programs are meant to increase public awareness and knowledge about environmental problems, while educating the public with the necessary skills to make informed decisions and take responsibility. These environmental education programs encourage the development of outdoor learning laboratories and instructional gardens that teach students how to become engaged environmental stewards. These programs are focused to reduce the use and availability of heavy metal inside schools thus increasing the systems overall environmental health and safety. However these programs unintentionally overlook school playgrounds as plausible routes attributing to childhood heavy metal exposures. Literature review identified that playground soils are plausible reservoirs that attribute to the heavy metal exposures endured by children. A method was created and determined to represent a viable means of predicting soil contamination. The method was confirmed by completing a soil survey of 33 Wisconsin school playgrounds. Information was collected that documented the schools original date of construction in conjunction with the schools geographic classification (rural, suburban, or urban). Environmental sampling was conducted and analyzed by portable x-ray fluorescence (pXRF) spectrometry. EPA method 6200 served as the blue print which established the observed level of heavy metal contamination found at each site. The data generated was specific to display the observed levels of Arsenic (As) and Lead (Pb) in parts per million (ppm). Initial results indicated of the 33 playgrounds explored 100% of them had a detectable level of As, and 97 % of them had a detectable level of Pb. Although the data was not able to support prior literature and further establish that playground soils are plausible reservoirs of heavy metal contamination. The data did provide information that supports the existence of the urban metal island phenomena.
Soils--Heavy metal content--Wisconsin
Heavy metals--Environmental aspects--Wisconsin
Children--Health and hygiene--Wisconsin
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