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Elevated Blood Lead Levels Found In Children Who Live Near Shuttered Exide Battery Plant

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Children who live close to the now-closed Exide battery-recycling center conclusively have higher levels of lead in their blood than those who live farther away, say California state health officials.

Per an analysis released by the California Department of Public Health on Friday, elevated levels of lead were found in 3.58 percent of the blood samples drawn from children below the age of six in 2012 living within a mile of the defunct Exide plant, according to the L.A. Times. By contrast, the rate for children who lived more than a mile from Exide, but still in the vicinity, the rate is 2.41 percent.

Both of these values are elevated over a countywide rate of 1.95 percent. However despite this, state officials failed to officially link the elevated levels of lead toxicity directly to the Exide facility.

While the Exide plant could certainly be a factor, officials also cited other environmental concerns and even lead paint embedded in the older housing stock common throughout Southeast Los Angeles County.

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For example, of the children tested 2.11 percent of those who lived in homes built prior to 1940 had elevated levels of blood lead, contrasted 1.87 percent of those in newer buildings, according to KPCC.

Gina Solomon, deputy secretary for science and health at the California Envrionmental protection agency, said to KPCC that “a very large increased risk” of elevated blood lead levels was found for children living in homes built before 1925.

At the same time, children who lived closer to the Exide plant definitively had higher rates of lead toxicity than those who lived farther away, regardless of the age of the housing stock they lived in.

The picture ultimately painted by the report points to the relatively poor environmental conditions that lots of people who live in Southeast L.A. County have to live in daily.

Right now the state is undergoing a massive cleanup effort after soil tests revealed 99 percent of homes in the area tested positive for lead contamination.