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Blood lead screenings offered near Exide plant

The Exide Technologies Plant is shown in this undated file photo.

April 7, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Free blood lead screenings are available for people who live, work or attend school near the Exide Technologies plant in Vernon.

Los Angeles County health officials made the screenings available Monday after excessive levels of lead were detected in recent emissions from the battery recycling plant. Elevated levels of lead were found in the yards of 39 homes around the plant.

"There are many sources of lead in our daily environment," Director of Public Health Jonathan Fielding said. "However, it is clear that Exide Technologies has emitted unacceptably high levels of lead and other toxic chemicals into the surrounding communities for years."

Exide recycles batteries and has been under close scrutiny by state and local regulators over the past year.

Residents from Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles have voiced concerns about their safety numerous times.

This is the latest in a string of problems surrounding the plant. In January, regional air quality officials sued Exide for $40 million, saying the plant exposed people to cancer-causing chemicals such as arsenic.

The county Department of Public Health will offer confidential blood lead screenings through the end of September. Screenings can be scheduled by appointment or walk-in at Quest Diagnostics Laboratory facilities.

The health department will mail test results to residents as they become available. For more information about the screenings, residents can call (844) 888-2290.

CNS contributed to this report.

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