A reconnaissance study was undertaken to determine potential contaminant exposures to children through soil from elementary school playgrounds. Soil samples were collected from areas along the Texas-Mexico border, inland areas (soils from elementary school yards in cities/towns within the state of Texas), and three National Parks (one on the border, one in Tennessee, and one in Washington). The present study focused on organochlorine (OC) pesticides as the potential contaminants of concern because of their historical (and possibly current) use, and their importance as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). DDE and heptachlor were the most frequently detected OCs (69 and 63%, respectively), although heptachlor concentrations in soil never exceeded 5 ppb. Relatively higher concentrations of DDE were observed in agricultural areas along the border (50-60 ppb in soils from McAllen, Palmview, and San Benito) than in other soils. However, a school yard in Lubbock, TX had the highest OC concentration observed (70 ppb dieldrin). These results may be due to historical agriculture activity prior to the banning of OC pesticides such as DDT in the early 1970s, as well as the more recent use of DDT in Central and South America for malaria control.
- School yards
- Texas-Mexico border