Exide Vernon, Exide's Negative Impact on Other Communities, Health, Lastest News, Lead Emissions

EXIDE VERNON UPDATE: LA County Supervisors join debate about whether Exide plant should continue to operate; directs lawyers to prepare report identifying all available legal, administrative options to prevent toxic emissions from plant; South Coast AQMD orders Exide to report on ways to reduce toxic risk by Sept. 1

CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF TOXIC SUBSTANCES CONTROL

EXIDE VERNON FACTS -UPDATED

 

A report by Exide to the AQMD calculated a maximum individual cancer risk of 156 in a million for those working near the facility, which is located in a largely industrial area. That risk is far above the agency’s public threshold of 10 in one million. The agency ordered Exide to find ways to reduce that risk, suggested installing wet electrostatic precipitators and set a deadline of Sept. 1 for a report back.

By unanimous vote, the board directed its lawyers to prepare a confidential report identifying all legal and administrative options available to prevent toxic emissions from the plant.

EGPNEWS.COM

County Joins Debate Over Exide’s Future

By Elizabeth Marcellino, City News Service

June 27, 2013  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday entered the ongoing debate over whether a battery recycler and manufacturer accused of polluting local communities with toxins should be allowed to continue to operate in the city of Vernon.

Supervisor sought options to control arsenic and other pollutants from the Exide Technologies plant that recently reopened following a state shutdown on April 24 in response to an order from the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, citing health risks from arsenic emissions.

The company, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of lead-acid batteries, then filed for bankruptcy protection, saying it needed the supply of lead from the recycling plant to maintain its profitability. It sought a court order to restart operations at the plant, which employs roughly 60 workers.

On June 16, citing irreparable harm to the company, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin ruled that the plant could reopen pending a July 2 hearing on the matter.

Emissions of lead and arsenic affect more than the 110,000 people in the surrounding communities, Supervisor Gloria Molina said Tuesday.

“Air pollution doesn’t observe any boundaries,” Molina said, pointing to a map showing a plume of pollution stretching as far as South Pasadena.

“It’s not just the health of southeast county residents that is at stake.”

Residents and Maywood officials charged that equipment was available to solve the problem, but accused Exide of trying to avoid the cost of effective controls.

“They want to get away with the cheapest possible solution,” Maywood City Councilman Felipe Aguirre told the board.

Exide has reduced emissions by more than 70 percent since 2010 and plans to “continue to implement our planned storm water and air quality control improvements,” according to a company statement issued in response to the court’s ruling allowing the plant to reopen.

“Working constructively with the community, Exide intends to continue running a premier facility in compliance with regulatory standards,” the statement says.

The plant increases the risk of cancer for workers and residents, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Several residents told the board Tuesday about friends and relatives suffering from or lost to cancer that they believe was caused by the plant pollution.

A report by Exide to the AQMD calculated a maximum individual cancer risk of 156 in a million for those working near the facility, which is located in a largely industrial area. That risk is far above the agency’s public threshold of 10 in one million. The agency ordered Exide to find ways to reduce that risk, suggested installing wet electrostatic precipitators and set a deadline of Sept. 1 for a report back.

By unanimous vote, the board directed its lawyers to prepare a confidential report identifying all legal and administrative options available to prevent toxic emissions from the plant.

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BOYLE HEIGHTS NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL

LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina Exploring ‘All Legal and Administrative Options’ to Stop Exide in Vernon

vernontech

Battery Recycling Plant Has Operated Without a Permit Since 1962: Cancer Risk Within Exide Facility Up To 44 Times the Legal Limit

Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina directed county attorneys to identify “all legal and administrative options available” to safeguard local residents from toxic emissions by Exide Technologies (Exide), a battery recycling plant in Vernon. State inspectors closed the facility on April 24 for posing a danger to 110,000 people in surrounding communities due to arsenic emissions and the continuous release of hazardous waste into the soil beneath its plant. But last week – after Exide petitioned the court, claiming irreparable harm to its business and employees – Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Luis A. Lavin granted Exide a temporary restraining order, citing a violation of Exide’s due process rights by state regulators. The plant could reopen as early as July 2 pending a court hearing on that date.

“I recognize and respect Exide’s due process rights but Exide has failed to respect its obligations to operate a safe facility, ”Molina said. “We’re talking about a facility that recycles 22 million car batteries a year and which – though it has changed owners over the years – has operated without a permit since 1962. Exide’s pollution violations are already astounding. California’s “Air Toxic Hot Spots” Act requires public warnings if the probability of contracting cancer from any facility reaches a 10 per million chance. Because of Exide, in communities directly surrounding Vernon – like Huntington Park and Maywood – the probability of contracting cancer has reached a 156 per million chance. For Boyle Heights residents, it’s a 22 per million chance. Within the plant, Exide’s own health risk assessment shows the company exposes its own employees to a 440 per million chance! Exide is yet another toxic export from Vernon – and one we won’t accept without a fight.”

Almost every year since 2002, Southern California Air Quality Management District (AQMD) monitors have found serious air and hazardous waste violations at Exide; in fact, Exide’s facility in Vernon poses a higher cancer risk to more people than any of the approximately 450 facilities the AQMD has regulated in Southern California over the past 25 years. Exide is the only hazardous facility in Vernon still operating without a permit as required by the landmark 1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act – which was intended to ensure the safe treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. Nationwide, Exide plants have closed in Visalia, California; Frisco, Texas; and Laureldale, Pennsylvania following regulatory and community concerns about health risks.

Shortly after the California Department of Toxic Substance Control suspended Exide’s operations and announced Exide’s temporary shutdown in April, the Southern California AQMD confirmed that Exide was continuously releasing water with hazardous waste levels of lead, arsenic, and cadmium into the environment – toxic emissions that will fully resume if the Exide plant reopens on July 2.

“Exide claims that forcing them to clean up their act will cause irreparable harm to their business and employees – but Exide has continually glossed over the irreparable harm their plant is causing to the health of their employees and local residents,” Molina said. “Southeast Los Angeles communities are once again suffering because of Vernon’s lax environmental standards. To protect public health, we must know our full array of legal options.”

California’s hospitalizations due to asthma are rising, particularly in industrial regions like Southeast Los Angeles County. For more data on recent asthma patient discharge rates as determined by the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, visit http://www.ehib.org.

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