Some children who live near the former Exide Technologies battery recycling plant in Vernon tested for higher levels of lead in their blood than those who live further away, City News Service reports.
The study was performed by the state Department of Public Health after the Department of Toxic Substances Control requested it. It found that children under the age of 6 who lived within 4.5 miles had elevated levels of lead in their blood.
3.58 percent of children who lived within one mile of the plant had levels of 4.5 micrograms of lead of more per deciliter of blood. City News Service reports that the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention considers 5 micrograms or greater to require public health action and that California’s baseline for that attention is 4.5 micrograms.
2.41 percent of children who lived between one and 4.5 miles of the plant tested for similar levels of lead in their blood, the study finds.
For comparison, 1.95 percent of children countywide had comparable levels of lead in their blood in 2012.
The report says the age of the homes the children live in was also a contributing factor. Lead levels in paint were not regulated until 1978 and the homes near the former Exide plant tend to be older, CNS reports.
Gov. Brown proposed a $177 million dollar plan to expedite the lead clean up. As of March, 99 percent of homes tested had levels of lead contamination that needed to be addressed. That multi-million dollar plan is expected to be implemented next spring.