Exide Battery Smelter.Toxic Metals and Industrial Smelters

Communities in the US situated along industrial metalworking corridors are disproportionately burdened by the pollution associated fads with this industry. Los Angeles County is home to metal plating facilities, metal-finishing, and metal recyclers, and the associated diesel truck traffic. Metalworking facilities are associated with elevated releases of lead (Pb), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), manganese (Mn), antimony (Sb), hexavalent chromium (Cr6) and other toxins. This research uses participatory action research to engage residents, assess community exposures with novel biomarkers and mixtures methods, and inform public health. eles County is home to metal plating facilities, metal-finishing, and metal recyclers, and the associated diesel truck traffic. Metalworking facilities are associated with elevated releases of lead (Pb), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), manganese (Mn), antimony (Sb), hexavalent chromium (Cr6) and other toxins. This research uses participatory action research to engage residents, assess community exposures with novel biomarkers and mixtures methods, and inform public health.

Research continues through the “Get the Lead Out!:” Promoting Community Resilience in the Face of Environmental Injustice to characterize soil lead contamination, assess risk perception and health protective behaviors or residents and develop a community vision.

While public health protections over the past 30 years, such as the removal of lead from paint and gasoline, have decreased the burden for some metals, communities near such facilities face disproportionate burden of environmental and health impacts.  Projects continue with fenceline communities across Los Angeles to assess impacts of currently and legacy metal operations.

Resources:

The Conversation: Truth Fairy Revealed Children Exposed to Dangerous Lead in the womb 

Johnston, J. E., Lopez, M., Gribble, M. O., Gutschow, W., Austin, C., & Arora, M. (2019). A collaborative approach to assess legacy pollution in communities near a lead–acid battery smelter: the “Truth Fairy” project. Health Education & Behavior, 46(1_suppl), 71S-80S.

Johnston, J. E., Franklin, M., Roh, H., Austin, C., & Arora, M. (2019). Lead and arsenic in shed deciduous teeth of children living near a lead-acid battery smelter. Environmental science & technology, 53(10), 6000-6006.