City of Toronto  

Living in TorontoDoing businessVisiting TorontoAccessing City Hall
All news releases
Last 30 days
By month
Archived news release by year
  2012 - 2011 - 2010
  2009 - 2008 - 2007
  2006 - 2005 - 2004
  2003 - 2002 - 2001
  2000 - 1999 - 1998
RSS identifier linked to feed RSS
January 24, 2003
Recommendations Address City Study of CCA-Treated Wood Play Structures
Parks and Recreation - A City of Toronto study of playgrounds with structures
constructed of wood treated with Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) found that the
majority of structures are safe and do not require remediation.

The City tested arsenic levels at 217 parks and city-owned child care centres
with CCA-treated wood play structures. No structures located at child care
centres require remediation. Soil at 31 parks exceeded federal guidelines for
arsenic, and require sealing and replacement of material below the play
structures. As a precautionary measure, the remediation plan also recommends
sealing play structures in 26 other parks where sampling indicated elevated
levels of arsenic on the surface of play structures.

The findings are contained in a Toronto Parks and Recreation report submitted
for discussion at the City's Budget Advisory Committee on Monday, January 27.
The report recommends funding of $200,000 to remediate the 57 sites, and an
annual budget of $25,000 to conduct on-going testing at locations where
remediation has occurred.

"Although the overall risk of illness from exposure to CCA treated wood is low,
the City recognizes the need to remediate play areas where aresenic levels are
elevated," said Claire Tucker-Reid, General Manager, Parks and Recreation. "The
proposed action plan demonstrates the City's pro-active approach and is based
on a comprehensive testing protocol. It is important to stress that Toronto
playgrounds are safe and that children should continue to use the playgrounds
and engage in healthy physical activity."

The testing protocol was developed in consultation with Toronto Public Health.
Four samples were collected from all 217 sites. This includes one composite
sample of soil collected from 10 locations under each play structure, two soil
samples around the structure, and one control sample at 10 metres from the

The list of parks requiring remedial action is posted on the City of Toronto
website at Toronto residents wishing to learn more
about CCA treated wood and arsenic can visit

Integrated Management Plan on CCA Treated-Wood Play Structures at City

The Study
 Toronto Parks and Recreation retained Decommissioning Consulting Services
Limited to test arsenic levels, following detailed testing protocol developed
in consultation with Toronto Public Health.
 A total of 217 locations, including 209 parks and 8 child-care centres were
 The original inventory of 260 locations has been reduced through the
playground replacement program, site decommissioning or the replacement of
CCA-treated wood with alternative products.
 At each site, four soil samples were collected ? one composite soil sample
taken from 10 locations directly under the play structures, two soil samples in
the playground area around the structure, and one control sample taken 10
metres from the play structure.
 The test results were compared against the Canadian Environmental Quality
Guidelines for Soil (CCME 1999), which is 12 ug/g (parts/million).
 Surface samples were also collected from the surface of the play structures.
 Toronto Public Health recommends sealing those structures with elevated
surface levels of arsenic.

Study Findings
 31 parks were found to have levels of arsenic in the soil exceeding federal
guidelines of 12 ug/g (parts per million) and would require sealing and removal
of the material around the base of the structures.
 As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that play structures at 26
parks be sealed only, as surface samples of the play structures had elevated
arsenic levels.
 A total of 57 parks require remedial action (see chart at end of Fact Sheet)
 No play structures at city-owned child care centres require remedial action.

The Integrated Management Strategy
 Upon approval by Budget Advisory Committee and Council, the play structures
in all 57 playgrounds will be sealed with a polyurethane material. In addition,
the base material of 31 playgrounds will be replaced. Total funding required is
 Signage will be posted at the affected playgrounds during construction.
 A consultant will be retained to conduct annual testing of the playground
where remedial action has been taken. Immediate remedial action will be taken
if the site exceeds the guidelines. This requires a funding request of $25,000
per year, beginning in 2003.

City of Toronto?s Pro-active Approach to CCA-Treated Wood
 Since 2001, no new play structures were constructed with CCA-treated wood.
 Through the regular playground replacement program and the removal of CCA-
treated components, the number of CCA-treated play structures has been reduced
from 260 to 217.
 In August 2002, when potential arsenic contamination was identified at the
High Park Adventure Playground, immediate remedial action was undertaken.
 In Fall 2002, a Consultant was retained to test soil samples at all CCA-
treated play structures at City playgrounds and City-owned child care centres.
 The Report on the study findings and the recommended remedial plan and
management strategy will be submitted to the Budget Advisory Committee on
January 27 for review.
 If Budget Advisory Committee approves the report, it will be reviewed and
forwarded to City Council at its meeting on February 4, 5 and 6.
 Once the report is approved, remedial action will begin and is scheduled to
be completed before summer 2003.
 The list of affected parks is posted on the City web site at
 A fact sheet on arsenic and CCA-Treated Wood is posted on the City website at
 Testing was conducted by Toronto Public Health at the community-owned
Thorncrest playground. Arsenic levels were below the federal guidelines.

Media Contact
EDCT Media Hotline



Toronto maps | Get involved | Toronto links
© City of Toronto 1998-2019