A metal finishing facility in Paramount suspended some operations to comply with an administrative order aimed at curbing toxic chromium emissions, officials said.
The company — Aerocraft Heat Treating Co., Inc. at 15701 Minnesota Ave. — “shut down all equipment with the potential to emit hexavalent chromium because South Coast Air Quality Management District air monitoring data” showed levels of the carcinogenic compound above a trigger threshold of 1.0 nanograms per cubic meter, according to a district statement.
The average of three samples taken between Jan. 7 and 13 showed 1.67 nanograms of the compound.
The company agreed to an administrative order, adopted by a district board on Dec. 16, that set the trigger threshold.
“This order is working just as intended by preventing the facility from emitting potentially harmful levels of this toxic compound,” SCAQMD Executive Officer Wayne Nastri said.
The company will be allowed to resume operations when levels drop below the 1.0 nanogram threshold.
The SCAQMD found last fall that Aerocraft and another Paramount metal processing company — Anaplex Corp. at 15547 Garfield Ave. — “were the source of high levels of hexavalent chromium through exhaustive and fast-paced investigation” that included intensive monitoring in an industrial area of Paramount and emissions testing of equipment inside facilities.
Hexavalent chromium is associated with lung cancer when inhaled over long periods, “typically years to decades,” according to the SCAQMD.
Both Aerocraft and Anaplex have been required “to develop health risk assessments and risk reduction plans under the state’s Toxic Hot Spots program to ensure these facilities reduce all toxic air contaminants to health- protective levels,” officials said.
“While some actions may take longer to implement, the facilities will have to start executing many risk reduction measures over the next few months,” according to the SCAQMD, which is also monitoring, along with the California Air Resources Board, the air quality at six Paramount schools.
Hexavalent chromium levels have not exceeded the 1.0 nanogram threshold since sampling began at the schools on Dec. 23.
“Sampling will also be conducted at other schools in Paramount,” according to the SCAQMD.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Aerocraft General Manager Greg Stonick issued a statement saying it’s uncertain the company is responsible for the emissions and that “the curtailment is being taken out of an abundance of caution” while Aerocraft continues to investigate possible sources.
—City News Service