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District Receives Preliminary Lead Test Results for Takoma and Truesdell Education Campus Playground Surfaces

Friday, June 28, 2019

X-Ray Fluorescence Results Reveal Safety Levels Per EPA Threshold

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The Department of General Services (DGS) is taking an aggressive approach for elevated levels of lead at the Takoma Education Campus and Truesdell Education Campus playgrounds following a June 13th claim from the Ecology Center advising of the presence of lead.

On June 21 and June 24, DGS performed preliminary X-ray fluorescence (XRF) tests of the surface of all playgrounds at Takoma Education Campus and Truesdell Education Campus. Test results indicate detections below the thresholds set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of 400 parts per million (ppm) for lead in bare soil in children’s play areas. Specifically, the highest read at Takoma Education Campus was 309.95 ppm and the highest read at Truesdell was 322.40 ppm.

Following the same protocol used in May at Janney Elementary when presented with a similar claim, DGS collected bulk samples from the Takoma and Truesdell playgrounds and ensured a strict of chain of custody in order to perform the more comprehensive ICP-MS laboratory tests. DGS is awaiting results of this analysis which detects most periodic table elements at the milligram to nanogram levels per liter. DGS is also awaiting the results of surface wipes of the Takoma and Truesdell playgrounds that could possibly detect the presence of environmental lead – which is lead exposure as a result of other environmental factors such as improperly managed construction. Surface wipes can aid in the detection of causes from other environmental exposure risks. The agency will make these results available to the public once the full report has been received and once results have been analyzed.

DGS is committed to perform this enhanced level of testing to include the XRF tests, ICP-MS laboratory test as well as the surface wipes on the District’s pour-in-place playground surface inventory and will continue to keep the public informed of testing and results throughout this process.