SACRAMENTO (February 17, 2016) — California Governor Jerry Brown today announced that he’d seek $176.6 million in additional funding for clean-up in the community around the now-closed Exide lead-acid battery recycling plant.
An estimated 200,000 individuals have been affected by lead contamination in the neighborhoods surrounding the Exide plant, which shut down last March after decades of pollution complaints from the community.
Neighbors near the Vernon plant made headlines recently when they highlighted the disparity in response to the Porter Ranch natural gas leak – which happened in an upper-middle class community – compared to the decades-long battle that the less affluent, heavily Latino community in East Los Angeles has faced against Exide.
Lead is extremely toxic to the developing brain of young children and there is no safe level of exposure. Even low levels of lead in a child’s blood can cause learning difficulties, reduced IQ, and behavioral problems.
Following is a statement by David Pettit, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s air program:
“Generations of East Los Angeles residents have been poisoned by Exide. Long before the disaster in Flint, Mich., the communities living near Exide have been concerned about lead poisoning coming from this facility.
“Now that the Governor has pledged more money for this effort, the state Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) needs to step up its work in the neighborhoods. DTSC has been proceeding at a pace so slow that it will take 100 years or more to remove lead from the 10,000 homes in the area of highest pollution – a number that is probably on the low side. We are not taking any more excuses for failing to clean up the community promptly.”
- Exide and Quemetco: Comparing the Clean Up of L.A.'s Lead Battery Plants by Caroline Reiser, Jan. 2016
- Exide's L.A. Lead Battery Facility to Close -- Next Up, Clean Up by Ramya Sivasubramanian, March 2015
- Lead And Arsenic Pollution In East Los Angeles by David Pettit, Jan. 2014