My eldest son took this photo in Salem, MA this week. Contaminated soil next to a playground. Note playground in the distance.
Is your playground safe?
How do you know?
If your child plays at the same neighborhood playground every single day, it is worth asking the city or state or county if they have done any testing of the soil — and of the playground equipment, as well!
Many playgrounds are built on otherwise abandoned land (where a home was demolished, or destroyed in a fire?…, where a building burned down?…where a factory — in some cases, even a gas station or industrial processing facility once stood?…or perhaps an orchard – where decades of Lead- or Arsenic-based pesticides were used?) and often the city has forgotten why the land was abandoned in the first place (or “conveniently” overlooked — intentionally forgetting that fact when choosing to build a playground in that location.)
There is a scene in my film where parents talk about how their young daughter was poisoned on her local playground (please watch the film if you have not yet!). This is, sadly, still a widespread concern, and just like you would take the time to choose the daily dishes you serve your children’s food on, or which car seat you might use, you should put that same thoughtful consideration and research into evaluating the potential toxicity of any playground your child might play on — especially if it is a place you intend to visit with them daily.
P.S. The same goes for the need for soil testing at community gardens, as far as concerns about appropriate land usage. Do your research, and ask questions!