Metal concentrations and source identification in Chilean public children’s playgrounds

Delia Rodríguez-Oroz, Rodrigo Vidal, Francisco Fernandoy, Fabrice Lambert, Felipe Quiero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


This study is focused on four Biobio region cities, Concepcion, Talcahuano, Los Ángeles, and Tomé; these cities flourished very close to different industrial activities. We determined a pseudo total concentration of seven heavy metals (Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Cd, and Pb) in playground soils through inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Principal components analysis (PCA) revealed that contamination in soils comes from three principal sources. Firstly, industrial and burning activities; secondly, the use of phytosanitary and chemical products; and thirdly, vehicular traffic emissions. Zn and Cu are the most abundant analyzed elements in all the playground’s soils. Concepción reflected the lowest values of pollutants and Talcahuano the highest, reflecting the industrial effects. The average values of the analyzed elements were Cr = 32.90 mg kg−1; Ni = 23.76 mg kg−1; Cu = 31.51 mg kg−1; Zn = 63.69 mg kg−1; As = 19.51 mg kg−1; Cd = 0.50 mg kg−1; and Pb = 17.59 mg kg−1. Anomalously high values of some elements were found Cu = 462.73 mg kg−1, Zn = 364.39 mg kg−1, As = 34.7 mg kg−1 in Talcahuano, Cd = 1.6 mg kg−1 in Tome, and Pb = 55.59 mg kg−1 in Los Ángeles. Nevertheless, according to international guideline values of pollutants (VROM 2000 and ADEC 2010) there is no risk for children in any playground studied but all playgrounds are a potential risk for the environment. It points out the necessity to continue studying and monitoring Chilean urban playground to prevent health problems in the population. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Article number703
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Chile
  • Heavy metals
  • Playground
  • Risk assessment
  • Urban soil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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