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Three D.C. Playgrounds Close Amid Lead Concerns

Jason Scott

Three Washington, D.C., playgrounds have been closed after testing for elevated levels of lead, DCist reports

The tests were reportedly conducted on pour-in-place playground surfaces, which an interagency group lists as one of two preferred materials for playground surfaces. However, an advocacy group called DC Safe Healthy Playing Fields has been urging the city to stop its use and to replace any pour-in-place surfaces with an alternative like natural grass or engineered wood fiber.

Testing was ordered at all D.C. playgrounds after a vocal group of parents spoke out. The D.C. Department of General Services, which manages city-owned property, recommended closing the playgrounds located at Aiton Elementary School, Cardozo High School and Thomson Elementary School following preliminary test results that showed higher-than-normal concentrations of lead. DCist reports that DGS has called for further evaluation and analysis to help recognize the source of the lead and remediate as necessary.

For now, there’s no timeline as to when the playgrounds might reopen — though the one at Aiton was already slated for replacement. 

DGS will reportedly test all of the 257 pour-in-place playgrounds it oversees by January 2020.

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