The South Coast Air Quality Management District next month will formally notify more than 150,000 residents in the Paramount area of the cancer risk – and successful efforts in reducing it –due to harmful emissions that occurred at two metal-processing facilities in the city in 2016.
The agency will send notices to households and businesses throughout much of Paramount as well as parts of east Compton, north Long Beach, west Bellflower and the southern tip of South Gate.
SCAQMD will host two public meetings on Saturday, Dec. 1 at Progress Park 15500 Downey Ave. in Paramount to discuss health risk assessments for — and risk reduction efforts by — Anaplex Corp. and Aerocraft Heat Treating Co., Inc. The Anaplex meeting will run from 10 a.m. to noon and the Aerocraft meeting will be from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
“It’s important for residents to understand that these risk assessments represent a snapshot of the potential cancer risk in 2016, just before SCAQMD ordered steep and rapid reductions in toxic emissions from these two facilities,” said Wayne Nastri, SCAQMD’s executive officer.
“Since then, Anaplex and Aerocraft have taken steps to reduce their emissions toward the goal of meeting risk thresholds under our health-protective rules and regulations.”
Earlier this month, SCAQMD reviewed and approved health risk assessments for Anaplex, at 15547 Garfield Ave., and Aerocraft, at 15701 Minnesota Ave. Both were prepared using the methodology required by AB 2588, the state’s “toxic hot spots” law.
Anaplex’s risk assessment found that in 2016, when elevated levels of chrome 6 were measured in Paramount, and before SCAQMD’s required rapid emission reductions, the facility posed a maximum cancer risk to the nearest resident of 931 in 1 million, assuming that level of emissions persisted for 30 years.
Aerocraft’s risk assessment found that in 2016, the facility posed a maximum cancer risk to the nearest resident of 1,900 in 1 million, assuming that level of emissions persisted for 30 years. The calculations for both facilities take into account children’s greater sensitivity to the effects of air pollution compared to adults.
Since the 2016 risk levels from both facilities exceeded the 25-in-1 million cancer risk threshold in SCAQMD’s Rule 1402, Anaplex and Aerocraft must reduce their cancer risk below 25-in-1 million as quickly as possible and no later than two years after SCAQMD has approved the individual risk reduction plans from each facility. In addition, a “right-to-know” provision of the toxic hot spots law triggered a requirement for formal public notice and a public meeting for each facility.
However, due to early risk reduction efforts required by SCAQMD, the current maximum cancer risk to residents living in close proximity to Anaplex and Aerocraft is estimated to be about 25 in 1 million for each facility, Nastri said. Once risk reduction efforts are completed the cancer risk at each facility is expected to be about 1 in 1 million, he said. In both cases, residents who live further away will have a lower risk.
SCAQMD first discovered high levels of hexavalent chromium, also known as chrome 6, in Paramount in late October 2016. Following an innovative deployment of portable air monitors, SCAQMD quickly identified Anaplex and Aerocraft as the two dominant sources of high levels of chrome 6 emissions.
Through its investigation of chrome 6 emissions at Anaplex and Aerocraft and other metal-processing facilities in the region, SCAQMD discovered sources of emissions previously unknown to the industry or regulators. As a result, SCAQMD has proposed additional regulations to further control chrome 6 emissions including amendments to its Rule 1469, due to be considered for adoption by SCAQMD’s Board at its Nov. 2 meeting.
Anaplex operates chromic acid anodizing tanks, surface treatment tanks and spray coating operations while Aerocraft conducts metal heat treating. All of these operations can cause chrome 6 emissions. Chrome 6 is a potent human carcinogen associated with lung cancer when inhaled over long periods of time, typically years to decades.
For more information on SCAQMD’s air monitoring and enforcement activities in Paramount, see http://www.aqmd.gov/home/news-events/community-investigations/airmonitoring-activities.
The SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.