Communications Deputy Rosa M. Santana, 213-379-1334 or email@example.com
Los Angeles, Calif. – Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously for a motion that dedicates $2 million to help address the urgent health needs of residents affected by contamination from the Exide battery recycling plant.
For decades, Exide spewed lead, arsenic, benzene and other environmental toxins into the air over Vernon and surrounding cities, all while operating on a temporary permit issued by the state environmental regulatory agency.
“The hazardous waste emitted by Exide exposed at least 100,000 County residents to lead, arsenic, benzene, and other toxins. Many of these residents will live the rest of their lives with a heightened risk of cancer and other illnesses,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis who authored the motion with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
“Exide and failed oversight by the State have resulted in an undeniably catastrophic mess,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “The County bears no legal responsibility, but we have a moral duty to investigate the scale of the problem and to protect the affected families – especially the children – as well as businesses and workers in the area.”
The motion provides funding for health screenings and also directs county staff to immediately start identifying the most contaminated homes. Additionally, the motion directs the deployment of promotoras – bilingual community health workers – to help residents take advantage of cleanup vouchers available to them.
“These are not steps that the County should have to take. I wish that the state were responding with the urgency the situation demands. But these families can’t wait any longer,” said Supervisor Solis.
“More than 3.6 million residents face an elevated level of health risks due to years of exposure to toxins. Exide has a long record of non-compliance and of criminal violations,” said Angelo Bellomo, deputy director for health protection for the County Department of Public Health. “The State’s poor record of oversight and failure to cleanup with a due level of urgency is well known.”
The Exide plant closed in March after admitting to criminal misconduct under a negotiated settlement reached with the U.S. Attorney’s office. To read Supervisor Solis’ motion, click here.
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