Dr Reid, who represents the South West and Gibraltar and worked as a biochemist, said she was deeply concerned after inspections found higher than expected levels of lead, cadmium, chromium and antimony after testing equipment at 47 children’s playgrounds across the South West region.
The research was published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.
Following the inspections, researchers have now made a list of recommendations of the measures they believe need to be taken to address the problem which could pose a risk to children’s health.
Recommendations include introducing stricter controls over domestic and imported paint and ensuring parents of young children are aware of the dangers of biting and sucking painted play equipment or ingesting chipped paint.
Commenting today, UKIP South West and Gibraltar MEP Dr Julia Reid, said: “I am deeply concerned by the findings of this research which was led by Plymouth University's Dr Andrew Turner.
“The safety of our children should be paramount and clearly this issue, regarding these playgrounds, needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”