Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

11-02-07

Contacts:

Cheryl Achterberg, College of Human Sciences dean, (515) 294-7800, docach@iastate.edu

Paul Richmond, Environmental Health and Safety, (515) 294-5359, perichm@iastate.edu

Annette Hacker, News Service, (515) 294-3720, annette@iastate.edu

Mike Ferlazzo, News Service, (515) 294-8986, ferlazzo@iastate.edu

Playground soil tested for lead at ISU's Child Development Lab School; no hazard found

AMES, Iowa -- When a September inspection outside Iowa State University's Child Development Lab School found evidence of lead paint chips on the northwest perimeter of the playground, experts with ISU's Environmental Health and Safety Department immediately sent soil samples to be tested. The paint chips came from old windows in adjacent MacKay Hall.

The test results, shared Nov. 1 with parents of daycare children in the school, found no lead hazard in the soil, according to Environmental Protection Agency standards.

An outside environmental testing firm analyzed two soil samples from 10 separate areas of the playground. The highest sample was tested at 211 parts per million; the lowest level sample tested at 138 parts per million. The EPA has defined a lead hazard at 400 parts per million for play areas or 1,200 parts per million for domestic yards.

"Even the highest sample results came back well below the EPA's allowable limits for lead in soil," said Paul Richmond, associate director of Environmental Health and Safety. "These are considered safe levels, but because young children play in this area, we are taking extra precautions."

A fence has been installed around the affected area. Lead abatement for the windows in MacKay Hall will begin Nov. 5, and that project is expected to take about three weeks. Today, Environmental Health and Safety staff are working with the lead abatement contractor and the lab school to determine whether any portions of the playground can continue to be used during the project.

Lab school administrators are working with any parents who may wish to have their children tested for lead exposure as a precautionary measure.

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"Even the highest sample results came back well below the EPA's allowable limits for lead in soil. These are considered safe levels, but because young children play in this area, we are taking extra precautions."

Paul Richmond, associate director, Environmental Health and Safety