As a parent, I am always conscious of the health of my children. Two news articles in the Miami Herald caught my attention and deserve comment. The first concerns children’s toys. The Consumer Product Safety Commission just lowered the amount of lead that is allowed in toys and other children’s product sold in the U.S. The U.S. now has one of the lowest limits in the world, which is good, because there is no known safe level of lead for human beings. But that raises the question about the lead in toys from other countries who have different standards. Be aware of the risk to your children from toys that could harm them because of the amount of lead.
The second article deals with contamination in parks, which can pose a risk to children. If the park where your children play was created from landfill, there can be contamination from toxic heavy metals. Olinda Park in northwest Miami Dade county is getting a cleanup costing $ 1-2 million dollars. Seems the soil was contaminated from an old incinerator ash dump and lead concentrations were more than ten times the safe level! Contamination from pesticides, such as DDT (banned many years ago) and gasoline byproducts are fairly common in landfill sites used as parks nationwide. Clean up can be expensive and therefore put on the back burner in this economy, but it is worth making sure, because children, especially those under six years, are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning.
Check with the Environmental Protection Agency in your area to make sure your park is safe!