Hexavalent Chromium Found in Long Beach

After detecting elevated levels of hexavalent chromium (cr6) in the City of Paramount and taking actions to lower them, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) widened their monitoring efforts to the nearby cities of Compton and Long Beach. As a result of this regional approach, SCAQMD has detected elevated readings of cr6 being emitted from Lubeco Inc. (6859 Downey Ave) in Long Beach.

Lubeco is a metal-processing facility; readings from an air monitor placed in front of the location recorded excessive amounts of cr6 between May 13 and July 12. On July 21, SCAQMD filed a petition for an order for abatement against the company. A hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday, August 23 at 9 a.m. at SCAQMD Headquarters in Diamond Bar.

Although Lubeco is located in north Long Beach, the facility is close to the city borders of Paramount and just blocks away from Paramount’s Mokler Elementary School and Alondra Middle School.

Lubeco utilizes chromic acid anodizing and, as such, is affected by SCAQMD Rule 1469. SCAQMD is currently in the process of amending this Rule to update its requirements as a reflection of new research and community concerns.

“As a result of our exhaustive and complex investigations of toxic emissions from metal processing facilities, we have identified Lubeco as a source of elevated emissions of hexavalent chromium,” Wayne Nastri, the air district’s executive officer, said in a statement. “We are seeking this order to protect the health and safety of residents in this area.”

The discovery of these high cr6 numbers in Long Beach, along with a general increase in cr6 levels throughout Paramount from July 12 through 18, plus recent findings in Compton, suggest a regional trend rather than a localized one, according to 4th District LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn.

“I appreciate the SCAQMD’s decision to take action against Lubeco, the latest plant to be identified as a source of hexavalent chromium,” stated Supervisor Hahn. “The most recent testing results in the area prove that this issue is widespread and that there are likely other metal plants emitting dangerous levels of this toxin.”

Although there were elevated readings in many places throughout Paramount during mid-July 2017, readings were elevated in other areas of the region as well, including Compton and Long Beach. SCAQMD began monitoring air quality in these two cities recently and will work towards addressing the overall issue through its sweeping Air Toxics Action Plan. The Plan is expected to be a seven-year, labor-intensive effort that will focus on approximately 1,100 metal processing facilities across SCAQMD’s four-county jurisdiction with the potential to emit toxic metal contaminants such as hexavalent chromium, lead, arsenic, cadmium, and nickel.

“After closely working with SCAQMD to lower emissions in Paramount, we hope that the agency can begin addressing this widespread matter on a larger scale,” said Peggy Lemons, Mayor of Paramount. “The City of Paramount has faith in SCAQMD’s ability to bring these businesses into compliance. We will do our part to assist the agency’s successful outcome so that the health and safety of all residents within the South Coast Basin will be ensured.”

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