rucz
Header
Home Press Releases Prague Children Playgrounds Have Problems with Cadmium Contents. Luckily, Contents of Other Toxic Substances Are within Limits.

Prague Children Playgrounds Have Problems with Cadmium Contents. Luckily, Contents of Other Toxic Substances Are within Limits.

Prague - 05 October 2016

 

Arnika's experts visited 9 playgrounds in 6 parts of the city of Prague in the past months, in order to take sand samples from sandpits, as well as from the whole playground areas. Subsequently, the samples were tested for contents of toxic heavy metals in laboratories of the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague. The results showed that all samples, with only one exception, contained cadmium amounts exceeding limits. Luckily, concentrations of the other measured substances were far below limits set in the relevant Decree of the Ministry of Health. The research focused on sandpits in residential areas, in sites with heavy traffic burden, and near the waste incineration plant in Malešice in Prague. Children often come into contact with sand in playgrounds, and, simultaneously, a risk exists that harmful substances would accumulate in it. This is the reason why Arnika made its research of playgrounds.

Although most concentrations were under the limit values, there were found also some surprising results exceeding standards valid in the Czech Republic. This concerned especially the heavy metal  cadmium. Valid limits for this substance were exceeded in almost all samples. Instead of at most 0.5 mg/kg, the level of 0.64 mg/kg was found in a majority of localities. In five cases, the limit for cadmium was exceeded almost twice - namely, the concentration of 0.96 mg/kg was found.

„Unfortunately, the amounts of cadmium are not only higher than the limit values, but Prague is worse, in this respect, even in comparison with similar foreign studies. Studies carried out in Madrid, Hong Kong, and Kazakhstan, proved lower values than in Prague,“ comments the results Mgr. Karolína Brabcová from Arnika, the head of the project What We Play in Prague with.

It follows from the results that there cannot be unequivocally pointed at a specific and isolated source and culprit of increased cadmium levels. „Car traffic in Prague and dust formation connected with that may be included among the likely factors causing the higher cadmium concentrations. Further, various (not only) industrial sources connected with combustion of fossil fuels cannot be neglected,“ says Arnika's expert on chemical substances, Ing. Milan Havel. For example, cadmium concentrations found in samples from the housing estate in Malešice may be linked to nearby industrial pollution sources, for example, a waste incineration plant and a heating plant burning coal, but car traffic may play its role in this case, too.

It is obvious that the most frequent cause of contamination is pollution caused by heavy car traffic, and, optionally, an industrial source, such as an incinerator or a heating plant,“ agrees Brabcová.

„In the case of the other metals (lead, zinc, mercury, copper, and chromium), Arnika, in cooperation with the University of Chemistry and Technology, found amounts below the limits. This is true also in comparison with foreign studies and research carried out by the Arnika Association itself in Kazakhstan in Central Asia, “ adds Havel.

In total, 9 sandpits were tested - in Dejvice near the Jugoslávských partyzánů and Evropská avenues, in Prosek near the motorway to Teplice, in Holešovice, near the Prague's main train station, in Malešice, and in Spořilov near the Southern Link motorway. The overall highest concentrations of heavy metals, especially of cadmium and lead, were found in sand at children playgrounds in Holešovice near the Prague's market hall, and in the housing estate in Malešice.

Arnika carried out the research in cooperation with the University of Chemistry and Technology. The samples were taken in sandpits, as well as in the vicinity of playground equipments in the places where sand covered the whole playground area. The samples were sieved though a 125 micrometer sieve, in order to get the maximum possible amount of dust particles to which the highest amounts of heavy metal pollutants adhere. „The samples were mineralised, dissolved in an acid solution, and analysed by an atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AAS) for heavy metal contents. An Indian intern participated in the sampling and analyses. She analysed sand samples in the University laboratories within the framework of her summer practice,“ adds Ing. Marek Šír Ph.D. from the University of Chemistry and Technology, the expert supervisor of the whole project.

The samplings, measurements, as well as drawing up the study, were carried out within the framework of the project „What We Play in Prague with“ financed by the capital city of Prague, and with support of the Ministry of Environment.

 

Annexes to the Press Release:

 

Annex No. 1: Range of metal concentrations (mg/kg) in Prague playgrounds

 

METALS

RANGE (mg/kg)

Limits (mg/kg - Ministry of Health 2011)

Cd

0.32-0.96

0.5

Cr

5.80-19.35

100

Cu

8.38-39.35

100

Pb

9.71-31.90

60

Zn

15.48-84.83

150

Hg

0.007-0.23

0.3

Hg was measured in samples from only three of the nine examined sites, namely, JAT 1, NADR 2 and HAD 1.

Annex No. 2: Concentrations of heavy metals (mg/kg) in the sieved samples from Prague playgrounds as measured by the atomic absorption spectrophotometer.

 

The limit concentrations for heavy metal contents (mg/kg), valid in the Czech Republic, are also given in brackets beside each of the metals. The concentrations exceeding the limit values have been highlighted.

Cd (0.5 mg/kg)

Cr (100 mg/kg)

Cu (100 mg/kg)

Pb (60 mg/kg)

Zn (150 mg/kg)

Hg (0.3 mg/kg)

UZL 1

0.96

16.13

39.35

29.12

26.45

N.A.

UZL 2

0.96

17.10

9.35

12.13

26.45

N.A.

HAD 1

0.64

10.64

14.51

16.83

17.74

0.011

HAD 2

0.32

6.45

8.38

9.71

21.61

N.A.

TEP 1

0.64

7.10

10.64

14.71

18.71

N.A.

TEP 2

0.64

8.06

10.96

12

35.54

N.A.

NADR 1

0.64

10.96

10.32

11.58

25.48

N.A.

NADR 2

0.96

11.93

11.61

13.35

43.54

0.007

LOT 1

0.96

11.29

12.58

11.29

24.19

N.A.

LOT 2

0.64

11.29

10.64

12.13

21.93

N.A.

JAT 1

0.96

19.35

31.29

31.90

84.83

0.23

JAT 2

0.96

9.03

20.64

16.16

21.93

N.A.

CER 1

0.64

12.25

8.71

9.83

20

N.A.

KRE 1

0.64

5.80

10.64

12.13

15.48

N.A.

VYS 1

0.64

9.35

21.61

16.51

42.58

N.A.

RANGE

0.32-0.96

5.80-19.35

8.38-39.35

9.71-31.90

15.48-84.83

0.007-0.23

N.A. – Not Analysed

Hong Kong

Madrid

Prague

Kazakhstan

Czech standards (Ministry of Health 2011)

Cu

16.14

8.38-39.35

13.9-4866.1

100

Pb

89.94

6.1-106

9.71-31.90

13.9-2410

60

Cd

0.94

0.05-0.50

0.32-0.96

0-15.3

0.5

Annex No.  4: List and map of playgrounds where sand samples were taken from sandpits, as well as from the surface of the playground area 

piskoviste praha

 

HAD: HADOVKA - PRAGUE 6, NEAR THE EVROPSKÁ STREET - (heavy traffic load, the street goes towards the airport)

TEP: TEPLICKÁ - PRAGUE 9 - (near the motorway to Dresden)

VYS: VINIČNÍ PARK, VYSOČANY - Sokolovská, Vysočany - (former industrial area with a few industrial businesses)

JAT: JATEČNÍ, HOLEŠOVICE - Jateční. Prague 7 (the site that usually shows the highest concentrations of pollutants originating from transport in Prague)

NADR: HLAVNÍ NÁDRAŽÍ, Prague 1 - (area surrounding the main train station in Prague)

UZL: V Úžlabině, Malešice, Prague 10 - (near the waste incineration plant)

LOT: LOTYŠSKÁ, Prague 6 - (near the University of Chemistry and Technology, the Vítěžné náměstí square, and the Jugoslávských partyzánů avenue)

KRE: KREMNICKÁ, Prague 4, Spořilov - (near a motorway crossing with heavy truck traffic)

CER: CERHENICKÁ, Prague 10, Malešice - (near the municipal waste incineration plant)