California’s Department of Public Health and Cal/OSHA failed to protect workers from lead contamination at a battery recycling plant.
Financial assurance flaws leave taxpayers potentially liable for massive clean-up costs.
Last year Governor Jerry Brown vetoed legislation that would have tightened scrutiny of the amount of lead absorbed by workers. Assemblyman Ash Kalra has vowed to pursue passage of his measure with 2019’s Assembly Bill 35.
California allocated $176 million to test and clean 2,500 lead-threatened properties surrounding the closed Exide battery plant near downtown Los Angeles. To date only 335 parcels have been cleaned.
Battery recycling is considered one of the most potentially hazardous industries. Yet Vernon’s Exide workers were routinely being poisoned with nearly nonexistent intervention by Cal/OSHA.