Higher lead levels in children living nearby the now-shuttered Vernon battery recycling facility discovered in new analysis by California health officials.
These newly released findings are sure to increase the already-growing pressure on local and state regulators to accelerate the cleanup efforts in Vernon and surrounding neighborhoods, as well as initiate a series of personal injury claims for the damages already done.
This analysis, released April 8, 2016 by the California Department of Public Health, discovered 285 children living within the southeast LA County communities near the Exide Technologies facility had dangerously elevated levels of lead in their blood. Furthermore, all children living within the vicinity were nearly twice as likely to have high blood lead levels compared to countrywide averages in children.
While the state environmental officials were quick to note that the emissions from the lead-acid smelting operation weren’t the only contributing factor to high lead levels, it likely isn’t enough to assuage parents considering personal injury suits. Officials also noted that lead-based pain in older homes and other known risk factors played a part in the findings, although the effect of living near Exide Technologies was still a detectable facet.
Jill Johnston, a USC professor of preventative medicine and researcher into lead exposure, underscored the danger of lead with local reporters, “Since any exposure to lead can cause irreversible damage, these results show a critical public health threat in the community.”
The Exide Technologies facility was shut down over a year ago after years of emissions violations and ever-growing concern from community groups and elected officials. Concern about personal injury that now appears to be well-placed. The state’s Department of Toxic Substance Control has been overseeing the cleanup of local properties, but it’s estimated that a complete effort will take years and cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars, culminating in the largest project ever undertaken by this department.
State officials are now experiencing criticism and facing potential personal injury lawsuits for not having tested sooner.
Lead poisoning can occur even if you do not have lead-based products in your house. Soil can be contaminated by a nearby facility that uses lead-based products, or if your home is located close to a busy street or on a former industrial site. The soil contamination will not go away for many years. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends testing babies and toddlers, especially if they live in a home built before 1960.
Symptoms of lead poisoning in children are: learning difficulties, delayed development, irritability, loss of appetite, weight loss, sluggishness, fatigue, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, and hearing loss.
If you have been injured due to negligence and are in need of a personal injury lawyer in Torrance or Los Angeles, please contact the Booth & Koskoff office nearest you for a free personal injury case evaluation.
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