Another Californian lead-acid battery recycler has been given 30 days to notify residents of possible health risks from its lead and arsenic emissions.
Battery recycler Quemetco, based in the Los Angeles industrial suburb of the City of Industry, has been told to cut its arsenic emissions after it was found there was an increased risk of cancer to 12,000 residents in the area.
The company was ordered to inform residents of City of Industry, Avocado Heights, La Pente and Hacienda Heights about the health risks and to submit a plan to reduce arsenic emissions within six months.
Quetmetco is the only battery recycler west of Mississippi, since Vernon-based Exide Technologies was forced to close its recycling operations in 2014.
The lead-acid battery maker was fined up to $80 million for its excess emissions of lead and arsenic, and faced bankruptcy proceedings that ended in May 2015 when a restructuring plan was implemented.
The company also had to pay around $50 million to help clean up the surrounding neighbourhood as well as demolish the old plant.
The recent findings will come as a blow to Quetmetco, who had hoped to increase production by 25% and operate around the clock.
When a similar health risk assessment in the mid 2000s found an increased cancer risk, Quemetco installed a $25 million Wet Electrostatic Precipitator, which officials said had significantly reduced emissions of lead and other toxicants.
Air quality regulators have said that the higher cancer risk is not necessarily due to an increase in emissions, but instead more stringent state guidelines.