'Please help us.' Residents plead for clean-up at toxic Exide battery plant in Vernon

VERNON, Calif. (KABC) -- County leaders and community members are calling for a clean-up of toxic pollutants at the old Exide battery plant in Vernon and in surrounding neighborhoods.

The plant has been closed for years and the promised cleanup to surrounding neighborhoods has stalled. Residents are convinced it is taking a toll on the health of those who live nearby.

"We need this cleaned up fast," said Boyle Heights resident, Theresa Gonzalez-Cano. "Nobody should have to hold the hand of their parents and their siblings while they die and suffer in so much pain."

Lead and arsenic from the plant is blamed for health problems of people in surrounding areas. Hundreds of volunteers are expected to fan out in the area to reach out to anyone affected.

"Please help us," said Boyle Heights resident Theresa Marquez. "Open the door to the health department and let them know the illness in your family, illness that hasn't been able to be explained by doctors."

The state has set aside millions of dollars to help with the cleanup effort, but county leaders insist more will be needed.

"This is our Flint, Michigan because people have had to endure contamination, exposure and physical abnormalities because of that exposure," said County Supervisor Hilda Solis. "It's time for us to say it has got to stop."
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