For Immediate Release
: December 10, 2019
Councilmember Robert White's Letter to Mayor Bowser
About Elevated Lead Levels in Playgrounds
Today, Councilmember Robert White, along with 10 of his Council colleagues, sent a
to Mayor Bowser expressing concern with elevated lead levels in District of Columbia public playgrounds. The Councilmembers have asked the Mayor to accelerate the final report on lead testing results, ensure that the report is released publicly, ensure that Department of Parks and Recreation’s (DPR) playgrounds are also tested, and develop a solution that ensures the District is using the safest and most durable materials for playgrounds.
White has continuously engaged with residents and parents who shared their concerns that Pour in Place (PIP) playground surface material contain high levels of lead. The Department of General Services (DGS), which is in charge of playground construction and maintenance, tested District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) playgrounds and reported high levels of lead, but did not report what the lead levels were and did not test DPR’s playgrounds.
The Committee on Facilities and Procurement, which White chairs, held a roundtable on this issue October 3, 2019. During the roundtable, DGS informed the Committee that it does not yet have results that specify lead levels for each DCPS playground and has not identified the source of lead. DGS has confirmed that lead is present on public grounds where children play, and as a result, children could still be at risk of unnecessary lead exposure.
Councilmember White is adamant that “the District must use the safest, most environmentally conscious, and easily maintained materials for our playgrounds.” He said, “I have daughters who play on these playgrounds, and I want to not only make sure they are healthy, but that all children in the District can play without worrying about harmful exposure to lead.”
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