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Lansing, Michigan

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Local Playground Structure Contains Dangerous Levels of Arsenic

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The East Lansing Rotary Club had admirable plans to revamp the Patriarch Park play structure until they hit an unexpected, yet potentially serious, snag. Wood samples taken from the structure in June tested positive for chromated copper arsenate–a known cancer causing agent. In addition, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says the amount of arsenic in the wood is above the recommended level safe for human contact.

Apparently, the play structure was built with wood that was treated with chromated copper arsenate, a common practice in 1995, but one that was discontinued in 2003. According to the Alliance for Healthy Homes, arsenic-treated wood can be hazardous to human health because it can lead to lung, bladder, skin, kidney, prostate, and nasal passage cancers. Furthermore, data released in 2003 by the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that children repeatedly exposed to arsenic-treated wood face a greater than one-in-a-million chance of getting cancer.

The "Remember the Park" project was slated to begin September 15th and go through the 18th. Rotary President Tim McCaffrey says that the club is still committed to improving the Patriarch Park play structure as part of its signature project, but will wait until it receives further notice from the City of East Lansing. The matter will be discussed at the city council work session at 7 p.m. tonight at City Hall at 410 Abbot Road.