Southland air-quality regulators are ordering the owner of a lead-battery-recycling plant in the city of Industry to reduce arsenic emissions from the facility and to notify 12,000 residents near the plant of the risk of cancer from arsenic exposure.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District order requires Quemetco to reach out to residents in Industry, Avocado Heights, La Puente and Hacienda Heights in the next 30 days and provide them with information about the health risks from plant emissions. The AQMD also plans to hold a public meeting in the coming months to provide additional information for affected residents.
“Quemetco has already reduced its emissions during recent years,” according to Kurt Weise, general counsel for the AQMD. “The steps that Quemetco must take to ensure even lower emissions will benefit public health, particularly for residents living near the facility.”
Quemetco Tuesday was given 180 days to submit a “risk-reduction” plan to the AQMD, outlining how it intends to lower emissions from the facility at 720 S. Seventh Ave. in Industry.
AQMD officials said a 2014 health-risk assessment by Quemetco determined that the plant posed a cancer burden of 0.66 excess cancer cases due primarily to arsenic emissions. AQMD rules require the facility to reduce that number of 0.5 or less.
Regulators noted that the plant’s arsenic emissions had not increased, but stricter state standards governing the risk of cancer were implemented in 2015, pushing the plant above allowable limits.
An attorney for Quemetco told the Los Angeles Times said emissions from the plant have dropped every year since 2013.
–City News Service