Risk assessment of heavy metals in children’s playgrounds in the Rabka Zdrój health resort / Zagrożenie metalami ciężkimi na placach zabaw w uzdrowisku dziecięcym Rabka - Zdrój

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Abstract

The problem of exposing to toxins in places frequented by people (especially children) for a longer time is an important aspect of environmental studies. Therefore, in Rabka-Zdrój, one of children health resorts, the contents of nine heavy metals, with a special focus on Cd, Pb and Zn, were determined in soils, grass, sands and dusts. The highest concentrations of Cd, Pb and Zn occur in soil samples: 2-3, 32-48 and 33-291 mg∙kg-1, respectively. Slightly lower are the concentrations in the sands taken from sandboxes: 1-3, 25-36 and 7-20 mg∙kg-1 of Cd, Pb and Zn, respectively. In the grass, commonly growing in playground areas, the average concentrations of the metals are: 1.8, 20 and 60 mg∙kg-1 of Cd, Pb and Zn, respectively. While the contents of the three metals in soils and sands do not exceed natural concentrations, the contents of Cd and Pb in grass exceed the values considered natural. The urban atmospheric dusts, suspected to be the major source of pollution, were analysed for the three metals. Their ranges (in mg∙kg-1) are: 6-15 for Cd, 80-215 for Pb and 104-260 for Zn. The lowest effects of pollution characterise the playground in the park no. III located in Orkana Street, whereas the highest the playground in the park no. I located in Parkowa Street. However, in none of the locations, the levels of Cd, Pb and Zn exceed the potentially harmful elements (PHE) considered as threatening the health and even life of children.

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