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Lead Test Results for Takoma and Truesdell Education Campus Playground Surfaces Analyzed

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

(Washington, DC) – The Department of General Services (DGS) has reviewed final results from an industrial hygienist for the presence of lead on the playground surface materials at Takoma Education Campus and at Truesdell Education Campus. These studies were conducted after receipt of a claim of elevated levels of lead at these locations and were performed on June 21 and June 24. 

DGS performed preliminary X-ray fluorescence (XRF) tests * at Takoma Education Campus which returned a highest read of 309.95 parts per million (ppm) and a highest read at Truesdell Education Campus of 322.40 ppm.  For comparison, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets a safety threshold of 400 parts per million for lead in bare soil in children’s play areas.  With these preliminary results indicating a presence of lead, flame atomic absorption tests * were also conducted from physical samples of the playground materials collected.  Results of atomic absorption tests for Takoma Education campus were at a highest level of 210 ppm at one playground, however at Truesdell Education Campus results of this testing of one playground surface returned a level of lead up to 44 ppm.

The variation between these two test results prompted a deeper analysis to differentiate between the presence of lead on the surface of the playground materials (residual pieces of playground surfaces), versus the presence of lead within the playground surface materials.  DGS performed an additional Rinsate Sample analysis (materials were washed with distilled water) * which indicate that the higher level of lead at the surface level of one Truesdell Education Campus playground can be attributed to possible external factors.  You may view the full industrial hygienist reports.

At this time, the industrial hygienist has not recommended the replacement of playground surface materials, however, DGS is committed to following the recommendations of the report and will perform a removal of loose pieces of pour-in-place surface materials through vacuuming, and cleaning the playground surface materials.

Throughout this testing and analysis period, DGS has been in communication with its counterparts at DC Public Schools and both have determined that the Truesdell Education Campus playgrounds will be closed today, Wednesday, July 3 for remediation to ensure the surfaces are cleaned and clear of residual pieces of playground surfaces for the safety of its users.  Additionally, on Friday, July 5 the playground surfaces at Takoma Education Campus will undergo a vacuuming protocol.

DGS will begin to investigate the source of the presence of lead at the Truesdell Education Campus.

The District’s Interagency Working Group on Artificial Turf and Playgrounds is actively engaged in this process and will continue to develop protocols to monitor and remediate potential threats to the safety of our communities when using the artificial turf fields and playgrounds throughout our city.

DGS remains committed to the safety of playground users and will employ the necessary and required safety guidelines and precautions recommended to ensure the safety for all. DGS will continue to inform update the public as new information becomes available.

*Readers may review the full industrial hygienist report for a description of the test.