Regulators watching levels of cancer-causing chromium 6 in Compton, North Long Beach

Friday, August 25, 2017
Concern over levels of cancer-causing chromium 6 in LA County
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Parts of southern Los Angeles County are among the most heavily polluted in the nation, and the people who live there want something done about it.

COMPTON, Calif. (KABC) -- Anxiety levels are up as air quality regulators gather more samples in communities south of Los Angeles.

Excessive levels of cancer-causing chromium 6 were detected by the AQMD at two metal processing sites in Paramount in the past year. Now, facilities in Compton and North Long Beach are under scrutiny.

"Anything that reads over 1.0 is bad. They have had readings of 3, 7 and 12," said Rep. Nanette Barragan.

No chromium 6 cancer cases have been identified, and the AQMD says they have not traced Compton's troubles to high levels near two plants at this time, but regulators are watching.

Local leaders, meantime, are throwing up a red flag.

"We all know that sometimes we may not know the effects of things right now, but later on down the line, those things come back to haunt us," said Councilwoman Emma Sharif.

"Frankly if it was me and I lived there, I would probably keep my windows shut," Barragan said.

Eddie De La Rosa, a Paramount father, says the plants provide important jobs, but he added, "We can't compromise that and put our children's health at risk and the health of other generations also."

How far does the airborne pollution fly? The AQMD said not far, about 200 feet. That's because the particles are heavy metal. They fall close to the plant.

But Barragan says the entire region should be informed, calling for notification through the mail to everyone within 500 yards of an air monitor.