Safety and first aid

Lead in playground equipment

Playground equipment manufactured before 1998 may contain lead-based paint, often found in yellow, red or green colours. A polymer coating prevents direct access to the paint. However, if this coating is damaged the underlying paint can be exposed.

Playground surfaces and certain types of equipment are more likely to erode (wear away) as a result of the sun, weather and general use. Surfaces which may show the effects of wear and weathering include slides and hand rails.

How to reduce your risk of lead exposure

Any exposure to lead from deteriorated playgrounds would be minimal. The best precaution is to exercise good hygiene practices.

If your child is playing on worn equipment:

  • ensure good personal hygiene, including washing of hands after playing outdoors and before eating
  • ensure that children do not try to chew, lick or suck on the equipment.

If you own playground equipment:

  • determine the age of and materials used in playground equipment
  • keep an up-to-date list of what play equipment you have
  • characterise the risk in terms of age and current condition of the equipment
  • contact the supplier to determine if protective coatings can be re-applied where older equipment is worn
  • update your list of playground equipment to include an assessment of the condition of the equipment’s surfaces.

If playground equipment is worn or eroded do not:

  • sand-back paint
  • attempt to repaint worn surfaces without consulting with the manufacturer/supplier.

Playground equipment in good condition will not result in exposure to lead and presents no health risks to users.

Where to get help

  • See your doctor.
  • Visit a GP after hours.
  • Ring healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222.
  • Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 (24 hours a day) if you suspect poisoning.
  • Contact the Environmental Health Directorate on 9388 4999.

Remember

  • Playground equipment manufactured before 1998 may contain lead-based paint.
  • If your child is playing on worn equipment ensure good personal hygiene such as washing hands afterwards.
  • If playground equipment is eroded do not attempt to repaint worn surfaces or sand-back paint before consulting with the manufacturer/supplier.

Acknowledgements

Public Health


This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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