SANTA MONICA, CA–Governor Jerry Brown today intervened in the case of Vernon lead battery recycler Exide Technologies that has threatened public health with hazardous emissions of lead. The governor discussed the case with regulators at the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), which revealed that testing of soil at 39 area homes showed unacceptably high levels of lead.
"We are pleased to see Governor Brown getting out in front of what has been a slowly unfolding train wreck," said Consumer Advocate Liza Tucker. "But we ask that the Brown Administration ensure that the DTSC take proper steps to follow through on making this serial toxic polluter accountable so that it no longer threatens the health of residents."
Tucker said that much more must be done to force the state's top toxics regulators to protect the public health instead of protecting polluters. Specifically:
DTSC must demand that Exide Technologies increase its assurance of financial responsibility to cover the costs of closing the facility from $10 million to $50 million. "It's going to take several tens of millions for this company to upgrade its technology to prevent excessive lead emissions, to clean up the mess they have already made, and to pay the medical costs of families suffering from lead-related illnesses and learning disabilities among children, let alone to cover the cost of cleaning up should the company fold," said Tucker.
DTSC must immediately fingerprint the lead to tie it back to Exide. "It's clear that the lead currently contaminating people's homes is Exide's based on the proximity to the plant and the levels of lead," said Tucker. "But it is important to prove it." Tucker said that "legacy" lead also exists in the area from the driving of cars powered with leaded gasoline and other sources. "The DTSC has no excuse–it already used this technology to successfully sanction SA Recycling, a giant Terminal Island metal shredder, in 2011. They've known about Exide's lead emissions for years and this should have been done long ago."
For more information on Exide Technologies, see: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/newsrelease/new-documents-reveal-top-toxics-regulator-knew-exide-safety-risks-years