Photo by Art Torres

At a community meeting Thursday in Commerce, residents asked state officials to expand the cleanup around the former Exide Technologies battery recycling plantto a 4.5 mile radius.  Currently, only homes in a 1.7 mile radius will be tested and cleaned up of lead.

Thursday’s meeting was the first time state officials met with community members after $176.6 million was approved for testing and lead contamination cleanup. Governor Jerry Brown proposed the money in February and state lawmakers approved that earlier this month.

Department of Toxic Substances Control Director Barbara Lee said the agency only has money to test properties in a 1.7 mile radius and clean up about one-quarter of them, KPCC reports.

Neighbors around the Exide plant also want the state to expedite the cleanup , but officials say the cleanup does not qualify for an exemption of environmental laws that have to be followed.

The need for testing and cleanup comes after homes near the Exide plant have tested positive for lead contamination. Children living near Exide are also showing elevated levels of lead in their blood.

The Department of Toxic Substances Control says they test 50 properties a week but will be boosting that up to 200 per week. The bulk of the properties in the 1.7 mile radius will not see cleanup until next spring.

Boyle Heights Beat

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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