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May 12, 2017

Barragán Leads Federal Effort Urging EPA To Help Test Air In Compton And Lynwood For Possible Hexavalent Chromium

Will hold town hall in Compton on Monday

SAN PEDRO, CA – Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) is urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide necessary resources to the Southern California Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) to quickly investigate the possible release of toxic air emissions in and around Compton and Lynwood, specifically hexavalent chromium or chromium 6, a chemical which is listed by the EPA as a human carcinogen.

A 2016 investigation by the SCAQMD in the City of Paramount, CA, found levels of chromium 6 of up to 350 times the allowable limit from metal plating facilities. Now, the SCAQMD has reason to believe there may be similar clusters near Compton and Lynwood.

“The prospect that vulnerable populations such as children, the sick and the elderly would be inhaling this cancer-causing toxin is deeply disturbing,” said Rep. Barragán. “It is why I am asking the EPA to take immediate steps to help the SCAQMD in the installation and funding of monitors to test the air in Compton and Lynwood around metal-processing facilities. Residents need to know if they are inhaling a human carcinogen, especially at higher than normal levels. The EPA has a responsibility to help local officials improve the air quality we breath. I also call for the U.S.  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which is responsible for protecting the health of Americans, to assess any potential health impacts to residents of Compton and nearby communities if any such toxins are identified.  Bottom line is we need to immediately investigate, identify any polluters, stop them and hold them accountable. I will use every federal resource available because I am worried about the health and safety of our community. I do not want another child to be handed an asthma inhaler or another person to be diagnosed with lung cancer because of the slow or inadequate response of air regulators.”

Rep. Barragán is hosting a community Town Hall on Monday, May 15, 2017 at 6:30PM at the Douglas F. Dollarhide Community Center, located at 301 N. Tamarind Ave., Compton, CA.  She plans to bring this issue up as one of the topics of discussion.

Early last week, in a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Rep. Barragán expressed the urgency of this situation as just last year, monitoring devices deployed by the SCAQMD found chromium 6 at stratospheric levels in nearby Paramount.

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Then on May 5, 2017, the SCAQMD announced that air quality officials will begin special air monitoring in the Compton area in the coming weeks to assess levels of the toxic compound hexavalent chromium near several metal-processing facilities in the community. However, testing could take several months to assess whether or not emissions are higher than normal and to identify the sources of those emissions if they are found to be at unacceptable levels.

“I am leading an effort to help push Trump Administration officials to take immediate action on this issue,” continued Barragán.  “If facilities are emitting chromium 6 at higher than acceptable levels, the sources need to be identified and EPA should immediately take all necessary actions to eliminate this threat to public health. If hexavalent chromium is found at unacceptable levels, HHS also needs to come in to assess the health and take actions to protect residents in these communities.”

For more information on the Town Hall:

Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook, and Wilmington.