Lead paint on playground equipment took center stage at a special Health and Human Services Committee Hearing in the Erie County legislature Thursday.

  • 66 items, including playground equipment, test positive for lead paint in Erie County parks
  • Erie County Department of Health Commissioner says risk-level is low for lead poisoning
  • Crews have taped off park equipment with lead paint and plan to remove it

Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw brought this issue to the attention of the county, saying he ran tests that found lead paint on playground equipment at county parks.

Follow-up testing done by the Department of Health did find lead paint on 66 out of about 200 items tested from structures to playground equipment.

Park crews have since taped off anything found with lead paint and will be removing it.

The Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said the risk of lead poisoning from playground equipment is low. She identified paint chippings from older homes as the number one source for children of lead poisoning who've tested positive Erie County.

She said never once did the source come from playground equipment.

Mychajliw still believes it is a risk. He thinks the parks department should’ve acted faster when his office alerted them about the problem.

“Let me be clear,” said Mychajliw. “The risk should be zero to children, whether it's a high risk or low risk. The risk should be zero to children in Erie County parks.”

"We take everything serious when it comes to parks,” said Troy Schinzel, commissioner of the Erie County Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department.  “Whether it is low, like Dr. Burstein says, or not we want to address it as soon as possible, but the right way. We do not want to rush and put our staff in a safety situation as well.”

Park employees will go through safety training to learn how to remove equipment.

Legislator John Bruso required an executive summary be completed by September 1 detailing where the Parks Department stands with the removal of equipment.