UPDATE: ANU and lead paint at childcare centres

A play area at the University Preschool and Child Care Centre at The Australian National University (ANU) will remain closed for another week after the discovery of elevated lead levels in three soil samples from the centre’s courtyard.

Independent tests on 73 soil samples at the Centre found elevated lead levels, caused by flaking lead-based paint, in only three areas against the walls in the courtyard.

No elevated lead levels were detected in high-use play areas, or on any play equipment or sandpits at the childcare centre.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said the areas had been isolated and posed no ongoing risk to children at the childcare centre.

“Remediation of the soil is underway, but the courtyard will remain closed for another week to allow a thorough environmental clean up,” Professor Schmidt said.

“While tests show no elevated lead in the play area or sandpit, ANU will replace the sand and soil in order to reassure parents that the area is safe.”

He said parents of children at the centre had been notified of the results.

Professor Schmidt said the ANU would only re-open the play area after a clearance certificate was obtained from an environmental hygienist.

For media assistance, contact the ANU media hotline on 6125 7979, or email media@anu.edu.au.

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