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Editorial | Keep kids safe

With the many distractions we are faced with, coupled with our penchant for gadgets, we barely find time to bring our little children to the park or open spaces where they can run free and play to their little hearts’ desire. Usually, children are brought to the malls and left in a kiddies’ playground for an hour or so, depending on the budget, so they can tinker with toys, slide or squeeze in tubes and generally mingle with other little ones.

For those who do not want to spend as much in malls but would like their little ones to play, the parks we have are a great alternative. Surrounded by trees and fresh air, parks are healthier and better for both parents and children.

Parks are not complete without swings, jungle bars, seesaws and all sorts of playground equipment they can play with. But, the recent findings of an environment group that tested the equipment at People’s Park and Magsaysay Park is a cause for concern and should be checked by the office in charge of parks.

The EcoWaste Coalition, an environment group, said using a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) chemicals analyzer, they detected that the lead-coated playground equipment in these two parks contained high levels of lead, a potent neurotoxin. The group is calling for the enforcement of the ban on “all lead paints, especially for applications that can expose children to lead contamination.”

EcoWaste’s chemical safety campaigner Thony Dizon explained that the paint will deteriorate with repeated use and exposure to sun and rain. This will cause the paint to peel and get into the dust and soil, which can be ingested by children through common hand-to-mouth behavior.

The World Health Organization declares that lead is “dangerous to children’s developing brains and can cause reduced intelligence quotient (IQ) and attention span, impaired learning ability, and increased risk of behavioral problems. These health impacts also have significant economic costs to countries.”
Children should be able to play in parks where they can be free and where they can be safe.

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