South Coast Air Quality Management District Chairman William A. Burke, Ed.D. and Board Member Judith Mitchell hosted a town hall meeting in Compton on Thursday evening to announce the agency’s plans to conduct special air monitoring near eight metal-finishing facilities in the Compton area.
“During our meeting, I was truly impressed with the level of interest and concern expressed by community members on this issue,” Burke said. “We are committed to the use of special monitoring to better protect public health across Southern California, particularly in environmental justice communities such as Compton.”
Approximately 140 residents attended the meeting and several spoke to ask questions or express their concerns about air pollution and their personal health. U.S. Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán, Compton Mayor Aja Brown, Mayor Pro Tem Janna Zurita, Council Member Emma Sharif and Compton Unified School District Board of Trustees Vice President Micah Ali also spoke at the meeting.
SCAQMD staff started installing air sampling devices today near two chrome-plating and anodizing facilities:
Later this year, SCAQMD will expand its monitoring to measure hexavalent chrome near these chrome-plating and anodizing facilities:
While these facilities are not known to be emitting high levels of hexavalent chromium, air monitoring using the latest technology will confirm whether or not there is a significant health risk to the community. The monitoring is expected to take months.
SCAQMD will post results of its air monitoring in Compton to its website at www.aqmd.gov.
SCAQMD officials used multiple criteria to screen and prioritize metal processing facilities across its four-county jurisdiction that could pose a health risk due to emissions of hexavalent chromium. The chemical is a potent human carcinogen associated with lung cancer when inhaled over long periods of time, typically years to decades.
Criteria for evaluating facilities included proximity to residences, schools and hospitals, clustering of multiple chrome plating and anodizing plants and facility maintenance and housekeeping practices.
The Compton area was selected for the toxics initiative because there are several potential chrome-emitting facilities in the community in close proximity to each other and to schools, homes, hospitals and senior centers.
SCAQMD’s air monitoring in the Compton area marks the launch of its planned community air toxics initiative to assess toxic emissions associated with hundreds of metal-processing facilities across the region. It grew out of the agency’s intensive air monitoring and enforcement activities in Paramount.
“We will use the lessons from Paramount to determine whether there are any high emitters in Compton, and if so require them to rapidly reduce their emissions,” Burke said.
The SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.