SCAQMD Intensifies Investigation of Potential Sources of Hexavalent Chromium Emissions in Paramount

November 4, 2016

Southland air quality officials have intensified ongoing efforts to identify and control potential sources of toxic metal emissions in Paramount following recent air monitoring results that showed elevated levels of one pollutant in a mostly industrial area of the city.

“This is priority No. 1 for our air monitoring and enforcement staff,” said Wayne Nastri, acting executive officer for the South Coast Air Quality Management District. “We have narrowed the search to a targeted area, and when we find the facility or facilities responsible for these elevated emissions, we will take all steps necessary to reduce them as quickly as possible.”

Since 2013, the SCAQMD has conducted special monitoring in Paramount for toxic metals, focusing on hexavalent chromium and nickel. At a town hall meeting in August, SCAQMD staff reported monitoring results that found levels of hexavalent chromium in a residential area of Paramount about five times higher than typical background levels. In order to track down the potential sources contributing to those elevated levels, SCAQMD staff expanded its monitoring efforts in the industrial area in October.

Late last month, a monitor in a mostly industrial area in the vicinity of Madison Street and Minnesota Avenue measured localized levels of hexavalent chromium about 350 times higher than typical background levels for that compound.

Hexavalent chromium is a potent human carcinogen associated with lung cancer over long-term exposure (typically years to decades.) Hexavalent chromium emissions can result from chrome plating and other metal finishing processes used in aerospace and other industrial applications.

SCAQMD dispatched a large team of inspectors this week to conduct a business-by-business search for potential sources of chrome emissions, focusing on a variety of metal-processing industries in the area where high levels were monitored.

SCAQMD will discuss the results of its recent air monitoring findings at a town hall meeting on Wednesday, November 9, at 6 p.m. at Progress Plaza West Community Center, 15500 Downey Ave. in Paramount.

SCAQMD is coordinating its response with other government organizations including the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the City of Paramount. In addition, SCAQMD will issue a Prop. 65 notice to the LA County Board of Supervisors alerting them of its findings.

For more information on SCAQMD’s air monitoring activities in Paramount, see http://www.aqmd.gov/home/regulations/compliance/air-monitoring-activities.

The SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.