Lead in spray paint and painted surfaces in playgrounds and public areas in Israel: Results of a pilot study

Tamar Berman, Zohar Barnett-Itzhaki, Shay Reicher, Ruti Ardi, Yaniv Shammai, Lior Aruas, Maya Negev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Exposure to low levels of lead in children can cause cognitive deficits (reduced IQ) and behavioral changes such as reduced attention span and increased antisocial behavior. There are no mandatory limits on lead in paint in Israel, with the exception of paints used on toys and children's furniture. However, paints in playgrounds and public areas may be a source of exposure to lead in young children. In this study, we quantified lead concentrations in painted surfaces in public playgrounds and public areas, and in spray paints in Israel, using X-ray fluorescence (XRF). Lead was detected in 43/48 (90%) of surfaces; concentrations exceeded the US regulatory limit for lead in paint (90 ppm) in 4/5 (80%) of tested surfaces on wooden picnic tables and benches, and 22/25 (88%) of surfaces in playgrounds. In 15 surfaces, lead concentrations were 10–700 times higher than the US limit. Out of 11 spray paints sampled, three (27%) had concentrations above the US standard for residential paints. In order to prevent exposure of the general public to lead in playgrounds and public areas and in spray paints, we recommend an integrated approach, including regulatory restrictions (mandatory lead limit of 90 ppm in all paints except labeled industrial paints); awareness raising in the public and in national agencies and local authorities responsible for maintenance in playgrounds, schools and public areas; and encouragement of voluntary measures by industry to prevent sale of industrial paints for use in areas accessible to the public.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-459
Number of pages5
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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