WIT Press

Assessment Of Risk From Exposure To Soil Particles In Playgrounds In Madrid, Spain


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WIT Press


E. De Miguel, I. Iribarren & A. Ordoñez


A total of 80 samples of soil and dust were collected in November 2002 and 2003 from 20 playgrounds in parks of Madrid, Spain, with the objective of assessing the potential adverse health effects of the exposure of children to soil particles in their games. In each park, two composite samples of 500 g were collected, transported in polyethylene bags to the laboratory, dried in a stove at 45 ºC for 48 hours and sieved in an all-plastic sieving set. 0.5 g of the fraction below 100 µm was digested with a mixture of HCl-HNO3-H2O before it was analysed by ICP-MS. The doses contacted through ingestion and inhalation of particles, and the dose absorbed through the skin (for mercury, inhalation of vapours was also taken into account) have been calculated using U.S EPA’s hourly default exposure parameters for outdoor activities, and also on a daily basis assuming that all the particulate material contacted by children (street dust, indoor dust, dirt and soil) has the same elemental concentration as that determined for playground soil. Given the large uncertainties associated with the estimates of toxicity values and exposure factors, further research should be undertaken before any definite conclusions regarding potential health effects are drawn. However, the use of risk assessment strategies has proved helpful in identifying the routes of exposure to playground soil and the trace elements therein of most concern. In Madrid, the highest levels of risk seem to be associated a) with the presence of arsenic (and to a lesser extent, lead) and, b) with the route of ingestion of soil particles. Keywords: risk assessment, playground, exposure, children, trace elements, urban, Madrid.


risk assessment, playground, exposure, children, trace elements, urban, Madrid.