Frustrated Paramount residents are demanding better regulations for the hazardous chemicals polluting their air as two metal processing companies in the area are knowingly releasing a dangerous amount of carcinogens. Yet officials have been long in reacting.
Resident Venecia Yanez told The Los Angeles Times that she can’t escape the toxic metallic odors in her home, complaining of symptoms ranging from nausea to burning throat. “We breathe it every day and it just doesn’t feel safe,” Yanez said.
These residents have waited years for lawmakers and regulators to fulfil promises of stricter rules and better enforcement. But the two metal processing facilities continue to spew out toxic emissions. Finally, this past fall, air quality monitoring groups acknowledged the concern when they detected high levels of potent, cancer-causing metal in the air.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District found hexavalent chloride, a dangerous compound known to cause lung cancer, in levels hundreds of times above normal. Its discovery spurred action and teams of regulatory agencies explored the area, claiming they were not sure of the source. Yet, records show at least one of the of the plants had previously reported the release of that chemical for years.
Community groups, civic leaders, and residents are furious. They say such revelations only underscore how the Californian government continually fails to address hot spots of chemical pollution near residential zones.
California Late on the Response, Again
California Assembly Speaker Antony Rendon (D-Paramount) is taking on this issue. “I am concerned that our community has become the latest example of people being exposed to toxic chemicals because a company is breaking the law and regulators haven’t been aggressive enough in enforcing that law.” He said, urging the air district officials to “find the culprit and fix the problem — now.”
In response, those air regulators appear to brush off the immediacy of the threat. Saying that while there is potential cancer risk with increased exposure, the threat is not dire and residents are not required to relocate at this time. They report their investigations are ongoing and anticipate eventual outcomes include ordering the facilities to pay civil penalties, face criminal charges, or cease operations entirely.
How long that might take is anyone’s guess. It’s no secret that L.A. County has garnered plenty of notoriety in recent years for its failure to react appropriately to toxic concerns. There was the nation’s largest methane release in San Fernando Valley, the lead contamination by a Vernon battery plant, and a toxic fire at a Maywood metal yard. In short, the state has plenty on its plate when it comes to clearing out and cleaning up dangerous premises.
If you or your family live in an area with unsafe air, please contact our office today at 888-212-0440 for a free case review.