Playtime could be hazardous to your child’s health – or even deadly – according to a study that examined a handful of Queens’ playgrounds.
local playground safety survey conducted this spring by the New York Public
Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) examined the safety at local places where
What they found were some startling results.
In May and June a team of nearly 20 NYPIRG field study participants surveyed 44 playgrounds in New York City — a sampling of ones located in all five boroughs including Queens.
to NYPIRG officials, the purpose of the study was to identify eight
potential playground hazards — including fall-related hazards — such as:
playgrounds can be wonderful places for children to have fun and face new
far too many New York playgrounds contain hazards that can injure and even
kill,” said Susan Craine, a NYPIRG Consumer Advocate.
According to the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC),
it is estimated that 190,000 children playing on public playgrounds were
injured seriously enough to require emergency room treatment in 2001.
average of 17 children die each year in playground-related incidents, NYPIRG
NYPIRG officials said that unlike many European countries and Canada, the United States does not currently have mandatory safety standards for the design, construction and maintenance of outdoor play equipment.
This year a new potential toxic hazard has emerged on public playgrounds.
has been discovered that some wooden playground equipment may contain a
chemical compound called chromated copper arsenate, or CCA. This compound
contains arsenic, a known human carcinogen.
A group in Rochester, New York found that CCA can leech out of the
wood, putting children at risk of ingesting a poison.
new toxic hazard is very disturbing,” said Tracy Shelton, a NYPIRG
Consumer Attorney. “Children could be ingesting poison and not even know
of arsenic poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, face
swelling, and shock.
treated wood has been banned in Switzerland, Vietnam and Indonesia. Japan,
Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Australia and New Zealand have restricted or
proposed restrictions on CCA wood, according to NYPIRG.
On June 18, the State Legislature passed a bill that would ban CCA treated wood from public playgrounds. It also requires that wooden playgrounds be regularly sealed with polyurethane-based sealant to prevent the leeching of CCA and other types of chemicals out of treated wood.
the wooden play equipment that’s in this borough, “there are only two
places where that’s left,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Richard
to Murphy, certified Parks inspectors inspect 35 parks at random every two
weeks, and if they find anything unsafe, modifications are made right away.
said that playground product safety guidelines change almost yearly and that
it is studies like the recent NYPIRG study that keep those who maintain the
park on their toes.
“We appreciate the report but citizens don’t have to be too concerned,” Murphy said. The parks in Queens “are absolutely safe,” he added.
of the playgrounds cited in the survey were at Queens Schools – PS 162 and
Marie Curie 158.
Board of Education officials had yet to respond to the Tribune’s request for comment for this story at presstime.
The following chart provides an overview of the NYPIRG study’s findings at 11 Queens playgrounds:
month, a small group of Queens residents joined together at York College for
a lesson in history and a call to action.
discussion for this forum was “reparations” – a growing movement which
asks how and who should help to repay African-Americans for the pain,
suffering and injustice of slavery.
The meeting was meant to encourage discussion and debate, but organizers agreed that the first step before any action on reparations can ever be taken is to educate the population on the concept and open up a dialogue on action.
The word “reparation” — from the Latin “reparare,” to repair — describes the payment of damages, the act of making amends or giving satisfaction for a wrong or injury.
social groups, reparations has historically, sought to compensate those who
have suffered great, arguably irreparable, damage throughout history.
1952, Germany issued over $800 million to Jewish Holocaust survivors.
the wrongs suffered in association with World War II, some of Japanese
ancestry in North America saw the issuance of over $200 million.
such as college funds and reserved land allotments have been steps taken to
compensate people of Native American heritage for their land.
the financial and social support that Sept. 11 survivors and their families
have received are, by definition, forms of reparations.
according to Viola Plummer, chair of the Reparations National Rally, “the
most brutal form of [injustice] known to the modern world was perpetrated on
[African American] ancestors” and the time for apt reparations is now.
along with the Code Foundation’s Erica Ford and approximately 70 concerned
community members took part in African American reparations discourse in a
town hall meeting sponsored in part by Councilmen Leroy Comrie, James
Sanders and Charles Barron.
December 12 Movement’s International Secretariat (of which Plummer and
Ford are both members) and many other passionate individuals were
instrumental in the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR)
declaration of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade as a crime against humanity.
declaration added official support to the collective cry for a
“focused, step-by-step” approach to equal rights that, Plummer
said, the African American community needs to adopt in this era of the
reparations movement organizers said that increased public awareness of
reparations is considered a success when placed opposite the muted past of
However, they noted that insufficient details about the movement threaten to desensitize the masses and turn the term into a mere catch phrase for campaigns and organizers.
meeting moderator Erica Ford reminded the audience of the movement’s
earlier actions such as Queen Mother Moore’s approaching John Conyers
(D-Detroit) regarding a Senate reparations bill back in 1969.
closer to home, an announcement at a recent rally by City Councilman Charles
Barron declared that the New York City Council began hearings for the bill
on June 19, also known as “Juneteenth,” which marks the day that slaves
in Texas learned the news of their freedom.
action, race-specific scholarships and the like have provided recent
examples of reparations initiatives designed to enhance the lives of many in
some note that these actions can resemble “hand-outs,” and contribute to
a rift within the African American and Caribbean communities.
pervasive theme in the upcoming national rally in Washington, D.C. is
“They Owe Us.”
coincide with and commemorate the birthday of Marcus Garvey – the rally is
scheduled for August 17 – whose message of Pan-African self-sufficiency
contrasted a theme of relying on someone else’s obligation.
raises the obstacle to reparations of creating a definitive and united list
of proper compensation.
an obstacle that required the “decolonialization of the mind,”
Councilman James Sanders said.
is a movement whose time has come… [having little to do with] morality or
logic, but absolute power,” power being defined as the ability to have
your will accomplished in spite of obstacles.
Sanders, the reparations issue is “a question of back pay.” If, and
when, a price tag can be put on the affliction of slavery, the fair
distribution of those funds will be the next dilemma.
has been mention of lawsuits against the perpetrators of slavery, which most
identifiably include, but is not limited to, the United States government.
action is not expected to be easy.
said “suing corporations is one thing, suing the government is another.”
I have to have five generations worth of family in America to qualify?”
one in my family kept any slaves.
Why am I responsible?”
went to college. I’ve
got a good job. My
family and I enjoy a nice house, car — the American dream.
Am I eligible?”
supposed to pay?”
Americans weren’t the only people to struggle.
What makes their situation so different?”
are only some of the concerns expressed and contemplated when thinking about
the growing reparations movement.
“It is a necessity to execute this march for our future,” said Ford, adding that attention must be given to the issues if there is ever to be a meaningful debate and a suitable formula for reparations created.
conjunction with the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America
(NCOBRA), the Jamaica Branch of the NAACP, the Afrikan Poetry Theatre and
Muslims for Reparations, the United Black Men of Queens and other local
groups, the December 12 Movement’s Millions for Reparations committee is
sponsoring a Washington rally.
locations for the 6 a.m. trip currently include Richard’s Place II in
Laurelton, Rochdale’s NCOBRA Office, St. Albans Congregational Church, Roy
Wilkins Park, York College and the Afrikan Poetry Theatre.
tickets and more information, call 398-1766 or log onto the website
American Reparations: Relevant Websites
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