Quemetco is a Battery Recycling plant in the City of Industry. According to the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), operations at the plant may have released harmful levels of lead (a metal) and arsenic (a chemical element) into the surrounding communities of Hacienda Heights, La Puente, and Avocado Heights. Exposure to high levels of lead and arsenic may cause significant health risks.
There are many sources of lead and arsenic in our environment, such as our food and beverages, and our indoor and outdoor environment. It is important to control all sources of environmental exposures wherever possible. Eating lead or breathing very high amounts of lead dust can cause lead poisoning. In pregnant women, lead poisoning may cause high blood pressure, the baby to be born too early (premature birth), or loss of the baby (miscarriage). Most people who have lead poisoning do not look or feel sick. The only way to know if you have lead poisoning is with a blood lead test. Signs of possible lead poisoning include headaches, nausea, weakness, and trouble eating, sleeping, or paying attention.
Current arsenic emissions are regulated by SCAQMD in accordance with Quemetco’s Risk Reduction Plan. Since 2009, monthly average arsenic emissions have not exceeded the level that poses minimum risk as established by CalEPA.
In order to inform the community about Quemetco and the health effects of potential lead and arsenic exposure, DPH conducted two outreach events and resource fairs in the nearby communities of Hacienda Heights (2019) and Avocado Heights (2020). The following are summaries of both events.