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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-PLAY (7529)

Fax: 503-823-6007

1120 SW Fifth Ave., Suite 1302, Portland, OR 97204

Contact

1120 SW Fifth Ave., Suite 1302
Portland, Oregon 97204

503-823-PLAY (7529)

Jennifer Yocom, Community Relations Manager

503-823-5592

Mark Ross, Media Relations

503-823-5300

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Lead Paint Control Program

Lead Paint Control Program for Playground Equipment

Lead-based paint was previously used on play equipment prior to 1980. This isn’t necessarily a problem until paint deteriorates and poses an exposure risk from inhalation of dust or ingestion of paint chips.

If a piece of play equipment tests positive for lead-based paint, PP&R will conduct an exposure risk assessment by a Certified Lead Risk Assessor. If the risk assessment requires equipment to be taken out of service as soon as possible, PP&R will fence off the equipment within 48 hours. Finally, PP&R will determine what to do next with the equipment which may include removal, removal with replacement, or, in some very limited circumstances, a repair that effectively eliminates exposure risk (for example: if lead-based paint is discovered on only one component of a piece of equipment, and that particular component can be cost-effectively replaced, that option may be pursued.)

In an effort to reduce the public’s exposure to lead, between 2005 to 2011, PP&R removed, refurbished, or replaced more than 60 pieces of playground equipment which had tested positive for lead-based paint. Since that time, PP&R has identified that more comprehensive testing and potential removals need to take place. In response to heightened awareness to lead exposure and in conjunction with a system-wide Playground Condition Assessment, additional testing for lead paint in playground equipment will be completed in 2016.

Approximately 100 pieces of equipment at over 40 playgrounds will be tested and/or re-tested in between July 2016 and the end of 2016.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission Staff Recommendations provide helpful background on concerns with lead-based paint in playgrounds.

As we know more information, we will add it to this page.

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Lead Testing at PP&R Playgrounds

All playground equipment installed in 1980 or before has been or will be tested for the presence of lead based paint in the coming months. Testing is anticipated to be complete by December 2016.

Using the map below, you can select a specific park in the upper right hand corner and look at test results in the table below the map. The actions will be updated with completed and anticipated actions. If a particular piece of equipment is removed due to lead paint and subsequently replaced, the website is updated to reflect the date the new equipment was installed. Additionally, not all equipment that tests positive for lead paint will need to be removed right away—if the condition of the paint is good at the time of testing, the equipment will remain in place until being addressed in 2018. 

This webpage and the data below are subject to regular updates. Please note, there may be a few days lag in between when you see an action take place in a park (e.g. a fence going up) and when this map and table are updated with results and actions.

Update 9-16-2016 for Albert Kelly Park: In the table under Actions, if "Awaiting Results" is indicated with a "Positive" test result, it means that additional testing or evaluation is taking place to determine appropriate action. In these cases, our Certified Lead Risk Assessor did not determine the need for immediate fencing or taking the equipment out of service. Additionally, a slide has been removed recently from Albert Kelly Park after testing positive.

Update 9-23-2016: The following equipment has been taken out of service due to testing positive for lead based paint results this week. The map below will be updated with this information soon. 

  • Colonel Summers Park - Horizontal Ladder
  • Laurelhurst Park - Chin Bar
  • Laurelhurst Park - Chin Bar
  • Laurelhurst Park - Teeter
  • Oregon Park - Swing
  • Mt. Tabor Park - Horizontal Ladder
  • Mt. Tabor Park - Teeter
  • Kern Park - Teeter

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Questions and Answers

Q: What PP&R playground equipment has lead paint?

A: All playground equipment known to have lead-based paint has already been: removed, encapsulated to seal the lead based paint, or fenced-off to prevent public exposure. Lead-based paint could be present on equipment installed before 1980. In 2002, PP&R tested over 138 pieces of equipment installed prior to 1980. This round of testing led to the control program of 2005–2011 when 60 pieces of equipment were identified and addressed. However, that project did not test all pieces in our system installed prior to 1980.

Coming soon—we will provide exact maps & data of what has been tested recently and the results as soon as possible at portlandoregon.gov/parks/LeadPaintControl.

Q: What does PP&R do when it discovers lead-based paint in play equipment?

A: Within 48 hours of discovery, we will fence it off from the public and then conduct a more detailed assessment and determine an action plan

Q: Should I be worried about my child’s lead levels?

A: If you are concerned about your child’s lead levels, the best thing you can do is have them tested. For testing, please contact your licensed medical provider or find out more about Multnomah County’s free testing at leadline.org.

It is also important to understand the science and statistics around lead exposure. Children six and younger are especially vulnerable to the effects of lead exposure and can be exposed through dust, paint, soil, pottery & jewelry, piping and solder, food and more

While there is no safe level of lead in our blood, children are most at risk when they have sustained and prolonged exposure to ingesting lead, often in the home. To understand your child’s risk of exposure, please note that Multnomah County reports that from 2013 to 2016, more than 15,000 lead tests were conducted. Of those, elevated blood lead levels were found in 188 children.

PP&R does not want to contribute to anyone’s lead levels—that is why we will continue to invest over time in our Lead Paint Control Program for play equipment and PP&R will be removing all equipment confirmed to have lead-based paint by Summer 2018.

Q: Does PP&R test for lead in other things, like its water?

A. Until 2016, PP&R did not do systematic testing of its water. In June of 2016, PP&R facilities began voluntarily testing for lead in water. You can find out more about water testing here.

We are continuing to consult with a contracted Certified Lead Risk Assessor around any other potential testing needs in our parks system.

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Next Steps

Your safety is our top priority. Though temporary control measures may have been employed in the past (such as encapsulation of the paint), these solutions are not often durable over long time periods with varying environments.

Therefore, Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Portland Parks Director Mike Abbaté have committed to removing or fully abating all playground equipment which has tested positive for lead-based paint from our inventory by Summer 2018.

For more questions, please contact Jennifer Yocom at 503-823-5592 or Mark Ross at 503-823-5300.

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