Auckland City Council acts to remove suspect chemicals in pre-school's soil

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Saturday, April 1, 2006

Chemicals, which the Auckland City Council said are a suspected cause of cancer and are considered toxic, have been found in soil at a children's playcentre in Auckland. The contamination was found at the Auckland Central Playcentre in Freemans Bay, and the Council will now spend $100,000 removing the top 50 cm (about 20 in) of soil at the playcentre, doing landscaping and replacing playground equipment.

The presence of "polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, including benzo-a-pyrene," was suspected at the school playground and was confirmed by a chemical analysis on Tuesday. The chemicals may cause temporary digestive and respiratory distress, as well as irritation of the eyes and skin. The levels of benzo-a-pyrene found were between 0.06 and 4.82 milligrams per kilogram of soil at surface level, according to the Ministry of Education. A potential risk is present at levels above 3.5 mg.

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