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Children Using Slide in Playground Treated for Exposure to Poisoning

A chemical emergency struck Salisbury, suburb north of the Adelaide capital of the state of South Australia on Thursday when a five-year-old kid , sliding down in a popular playground, came into contact with a some sticky black substance.

It is not clear what happened to the kid, but a few in the vicinity could apparently figure out something had gone wrong.

Health authorities described the chemical as poisonous if swallowed and also toxic if absorbed through the skin. They have identified the substance as a type of organophosphate compound.

Organophosphate (OP) compounds are a diverse group of chemicals used in both domestic and industrial settings. Examples of organophosphates include: insecticides (malathion, parathion, diazinon, fenthion, dichlorvos, chlorpyrifos), nerve gases (soman, sarin, tabun, VX), ophthalmic agents (echothiophate, isoflurophate), and antihelmintics (trichlorfon). Herbicides (tribufos [DEF], merphos) are tricresyl phosphatecontaining industrial chemicals.

Immediately thereafter 61 primary school children aged eight and nine and 14 adults were taken to Adelaide hospitals.

Of those taken to hospital only four children were admitted overnight because they felt unwell. They have since been discharged.

However a health department spokesman said all those involved had been advised to watch for further symptoms including nausea, headaches or feeling generally unwell.

"If they or any people who have been to the St Kilda playground have those symptoms they should present to hospital for a check-up," the spokesman said.

Police and Country Fire Service volunteers have conducted a major search of the St Kilda playground and samples have been taken of the substance for further investigations.

Salisbury Mayor Tony Zapia said the foreshore park was a popular meeting point for local youth and that security cameras would be installed in four to six weeks to
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