Quemetco’s Dangerous Impact

Quemetco, Inc., battery recycler facility in City of Industry on Thursday, April 28, 2016. Starting this summer, the plant will sample soil within a quarter-mile of its facility including residential properties, more than 25 commercial/industrial sites and several public areas, including storm drains and the bottoms of San Jose and Puente Creeks, according to the final workplan. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/ Southern California News Group)

Watchara Phomicinda

Quemetco, Inc., battery recycler facility in City of Industry on Thursday, April 28, 2016. Starting this summer, the plant will sample soil within a quarter-mile of its facility including residential properties, more than 25 commercial/industrial sites and several public areas, including storm drains and the bottoms of San Jose and Puente Creeks, according to the final workplan. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda/ Southern California News Group)

Cesar Peraza

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Quemetco is one of the largest car battery recycling factories there is. However, it doesn’t receive all its fame just for that. Exide is the action of smashing car batteries into pieces and smelting them to release the led particles. Quemetco has been doing this for a while and the results may have been harmful to nearby residents. Lead particles and arsenic, biproducts from the recycling process may have contaminated the air and soil/underground aquifers, and water near the factory.

After being sued by the state for 29 alleged violations. The Department of Toxic Substances Control has flagged Quemetco for not being able to minimize the possible release of toxic waste into the environment. In September, the LA County Department of Public Health went door to door to residents near Quemetco to provide health information and hear the public’s concerns.

Residents who live near the plant can still get free lead blood test screening through the Department of Health. Otherwise, residents are encouraged to see their doctors for a health screening focused on lead and arsenic exposure. Others argue that the focus, which has been a quarter mile area around the factory, needs to be expanded due to the wind patterns which could have expanded the hazardous chemical exposure.

Some students don’t even know what’s happening and live near the plant. For example, Natalia Aranda said herself “No I did not even know what Quemetco was until today. This is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with.” After learning about Quemetco and alleged poisonous toxins being released she said, “No wonder the air always smells weird. This worries me and I don’t feel safe in my own neighborhood. I think we need to protest them and convince their buyers to boycott them.”

Another student who didn’t know anything about Quemetco was Isabell Campos. Campos stated, “I didn’t even know that was a word.” After being informed about Quemetco and what they do, Isabell also stated,” I don’t feel safe here in my own neighborhood I am afraid of being contaminated myself. I think we need to take them to court and put an end to this factory.”

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