The City of Paramount has received inquiries from residents about a “Proposition 65 Notification” that was sent to a defined area in town in January. This mailing contained a “warning” about the presence of hexavalent chromium near three local businesses – Aerocraft Heat Treating Company, Inc., Carlton Forge Works, and Press Forge Company.
The mailing was part of a settlement in a lawsuit against the three companies by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH), a non-profit organization based in Oakland, CA. The lawsuit was filed in February 2017 and settled in December 2018. Part of the settlement required that the companies send out the Prop 65 notifications on a quarterly basis through October and publish the warning notices in newspapers such as the Paramount Journal, Paramount Pulse Beat, Long Beach Press-Telegram, and La Opinion, also quarterly. (Maps of the area that received the mailing can be found below.)
The City of Paramount was not a party to the lawsuit, but is providing some background and clarification on aspects of this matter to address any community concerns.
The lawsuit was filed under the State of California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Proposition 65). The warnings connected with the Act have become familiar across the State, commonly found at building entrances, gas stations, on vehicles, and on many products purchased in stores. We encourage the public to visit the State website and read the Frequently Asked Questions at: https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/proposition-65-faqs
The actual lawsuit settlement agreement can be found here.
Besides the issuing of the warnings, the settlement includes a payment of $467,000 to be allocated as follows:
- $359,590 paid for CEH’s “reasonable attorney’s fees and costs” which include $303,083 to San Francisco-based Lexington Law Group and $56,507 to CEH;
- $61,377 in civil penalties to CEH and to the State Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA); and
- $46,033 to CEH to create a Clean Air Fund that will “educate the public about Hexavalent Chromium” and fund air filters.
The City will seek information about the air filter funding and how it might align with the air filter rebate program Paramount currently provides to residents.
The warning notices specify the following:
Entering the area near [facility name and location], can expose you to hexavalent chromium from metal processing. Hexavalent chromium is known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.
Attached to the Prop 65 letter was a document from OEHHA that includes references to the possibility of children being exposed to hexavalent chromium in polluted soil. In 2017, the City, the State Department of Toxic Substances Control, and the L.A. County Department of Public Health shared that same concern and tested the soil near hexavalent chromium sources. The results found that there was no health risk at that time. For soil test results, please see the link below.
The settlement with CEH does not end efforts to address air quality concerns in Paramount. The City continues to support SCAQMD’s ongoing hexavalent chromium monitoring to ensure levels remain within SCAQMD-defined parameters.
Thanks to SCAQMD actions, metal-related processing facilities have been making progress in trapping hexavalent chromium emissions within their facilities.
In June 2018, SCAQMD reported that the level of hexavalent chromium emissions in Paramount have dropped dramatically. Additionally, the City has strengthened its zoning code for industrial areas relating to overall air quality. Those enhancements will be integrated into the operations of metal-related companies.
If you have any questions about this issue, please use our online contact form to communicate with a City representative.
Below are links to relevant resources: