Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 95, Issue 6, pp 429–433 | Cite as

Assessing and Managing Exposure from Arsenic in CCA-Treated Wood Play Structures

  • Franca UrsittiEmail author
  • Loren Vanderlinden
  • Robert Watson
  • Monica Campbell



Chromated copper arsenate (CCA)-treated wood has been widely used for outdoor play structures. There is a growing scientific concern about children’s exposure to the arsenic that leaches from these structures. The purpose of this study was to measure arsenic from CCA-treated wood play structures owned by the City of Toronto to guide an appropriate exposure reduction strategy.


In the fall of 2002, 4 soil and 2 wood surface samples (dislodgeable arsenic) were collected from 21 7 play structures and analyzed for total arsenic content. Soil arsenic concentrations were compared to the federal soil guideline of 1 2 μg/g. Dislodgeable arsenic concentrations were compared to a Toronto Public Health-derived interim action level of 100 μg/100 cm2.


Soil arsenic levels in samples taken from within one metre of CCA-treated wood were low (mean 2.1; range 0.5–10 μg/g). However, the means of the arsenic level in the composite soil samples taken from beneath an elevated platform were significantly greater (p<0.01) than the background soil sample and soil from within one metre of the CCA-treated wood (mean 20.3; range 12.4–47.5 μg/g). Composite soil samples exceeded the federal soil guideline of 12 μg/g at 32 play structures. Dislodgeable arsenic values varied widely (mean 41.9 μg/100 cm2; non-detectable to 521.5 μg/100 cm2). 32 play structures had dislodgeable arsenic levels that exceeded the interim action level. Mean arsenic concentrations on vertical surfaces were significantly higher than on horizontal surfaces (p<0.01).


Our soil analysis indicates that arsenic does not migrate laterally but accumulates under elevated platforms at levels that can exceed the soil guideline. Dislodgeable arsenic values varied greatly and were not a useful predictor of soil arsenic (R2 = 0.0015).



Le bois traité à l’arséniate de cuivre Chromaté (ACC) a été largement utilisé dans la construction des structures de terrain de jeux. Or, l’exposition des enfants à l’arsenic qui fuit lentement de ces structures suscite de plus en plus de craintes dans les milieux scientifiques. Dans cette étude, nous avons cherché à mesurer l’arsenic provenant des structures de jeux en bois traitées à l’ACC appartenant à la Ville de Toronto afin d’orienter une stratégie pertinente de réduction de l’exposition.


À l’automne 2002, nous avons prélevé quatre échantillons de sol et deux échantillons à la surface du bois (arsenic à faible adhérence) provenant de 21 7 structures de jeux et nous en avons mesuré la teneur totale en arsenic. Les concentrations d’arsenic dans le sol ont été comparées aux lignes directrices fédérales, qui prévoient une teneur maximale de 12 μg/g dans le sol. Les concentrations d’arsenic à faible adhérence ont été comparées au seuil d’intervention de 100 μg/100 cm2 fixé à titre provisoire par le Service de santé publique de Toronto.


Les niveaux d’arsenic détectés dans les échantillons de sol prélevés à moins d’un mètre de distance du bois traité à l’ACC étaient faibles (moyenne: 2,1; intervalle: 0,5–10 μg/g). Par contre, les niveaux moyens d’arsenic détectés dans des échantillons de sol composites prélevés sous des plates-formes aériennes étaient sensiblement plus élevés (p<0,01) que dans les échantillons du sol environnant et du sol situé à moins d’un mètre du bois traité à l’ACC (moyenne: 20,3; intervalle: 12,4–47,5 μg/g). Dans 32 des structures de jeux, la teneur en arsenic des échantillons de sol composites dépassait les lignes directrices fédérales de 12 μg/g pour le sol. La teneur en arsenic à faible adhérence variait considérablement (moyenne: 41,9 μg/100 cm2; intervalle: non-décelable à 521,5 μg/100 cm2). Ces 32 structures de jeux présentaient des niveaux d’arsenic à faible adhérence qui dépassaient le seuil d’intervention provisoire. La concentration moyenne d’arsenic sur les surfaces verticales était sensiblement plus élevée que sur les surfaces horizontales (p<0,01).


D’après notre analyse des sols, l’arsenic ne fuit pas latéralement, mais s’accumule sous les plates-formes aériennes à des niveaux pouvant dépasser les lignes directrices pour le sol. La teneur en arsenic à faible adhérence varie beaucoup et n’est pas un prédicteur utile de l’arsenic dans le sol (R2=0,0015).


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Franca Ursitti
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Loren Vanderlinden
    • 1
  • Robert Watson
    • 2
  • Monica Campbell
    • 1
  1. 1.Toronto Public Health - Health Promotion and Environmental Protection OfficeCommunity & Neighbourhood ServicesTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Parks & Recreation - Parks Quality AssuranceEconomic Development and Parks ServicesCity of TorontoCanada
  3. 3.TorontoCanada

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