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U Turn Clyde

February 26, 2016

So that got me thinking even more and I decided to revisit that cancer cluster in children in Clyde, Ohio which was blamed on Whirpool Park.  Now everyone wants to blame us chemical engineers for all of this cancer stuff because we design most of the industrial plants that make most of the chemicals in the first place.  Some of my readers will remember that I thought the cancer cluster was related to the town installing some microwave relay towers as the centerpiece of downtown, which I still don’t believe is a good idea.

But it is a fact that almost all kids play at the park in the Summer and many of the cancers originated close to or around the park, so I thought I would take another look and here is what I found.

Clyde Ohio Swing

If that is a plastic slide then it is a large voltage generator – Up to 20,000 volts or more with each slide.  Could exceed IEC 60065 (for electronics) guideline for static electricity safety.

Clyde Ohio Swing 2

Mommy said never charge up your kid with electricity and then discharge them over and over.

Clyde Ohio Swing 3

Mommy said never put a voltage source near water…P.S. the water in a waterslide may help protect the slidee from the electron deficit due to less friction, but it also makes skin more conductive.

Static electricity occurs when a “positive” material sheds electrons by rubbing a “negative” material that attracts them. Good static-producing combinations include wool and PVC plastic, hair and rubber, and skin and polyester. Cotton, paper and steel are neutral.

The resulting charge on both objects can dissipate slowly in humid air, or cause a shock if it touches something that is grounded, such as a person, a car — or the metal pole that Morley had his daughters touch after each slide.

The type of clothes and length of the slide didn’t matter much. But humidity did. In the cold, dry air of winter, Morley’s daughters achieved charges of about 10,000 volts. Morley says that in the dry air of Tucson, Ariz., a colleague measured 20,000 volts after a slide. [20 kV]


IEC 60065 states that consumer products cannot discharge more than 350 mJ into a person.  I estimate just a few round trips on those slides could be enough to exceed IEC 60065.

IEC 60065 Edition 8.0 2014-06 Audio, video and similar electronic apparatus (Playground Slide??) – INTERNATIONAL STANDARD Determination of HAZARDOUS LIVE parts

d) the energy of discharge exceeds 350 mJ for stored charges at voltages exceeding
15 kV d.c. page 54

My Motto is: Don’t shock your kids and keep your electrons to yourself…


From → Biology, Geophysics

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