How many chances is Vernon battery recycler/serial polluter Exide Technologies going to get? Add one to the likely-endless tally. Authorities have found elevated levels of lead in the dirt at homes and a preschool near Exide's plant, but they've decided only to issue "health precautions" and order more tests, according to the LA Times, which makes no mention of the plant—which has been operating on a temporary permit for decades—being shut down even temporarily or forced to clean things up or anything else that would indicate anyone is really all that worried about it. This is the first time authorities have found so much ground contamination. (Usually, Exide just puts arsenic and lead into the air.) In Boyle Heights, soil samples showed as much 580 parts per million of lead; California's screening level is 80 parts per million. (They also tested homes in Maywood.) But don't worry, the "potent neurotoxin" isn't a serious hazard. Residents should just be sure to wash their hands constantly, not touch any bare soil, and not eat anything grown in the dirt. (Imagine officials issuing that warning in Bel Air!) The question now is, when will they find something in the water and what will it be.
· High lead levels in soil near battery plant prompt health warnings [LAT]