EAST LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com)A study has found lead contamination in the soil surrounding a controversial battery recycling plant in Vernon, according to state regulators.

Exide Technologies, which melts and recycles thousands of car batteries daily, is surrounded by some of the most densely populated residential neighborhoods in Los Angeles County.

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Soil was tested in two neighborhoods near the Exide Technologies battery recycling plant during a study commissioned by the company at the request of state regulators.

Nearly 39 homes and two schools were tested in the neighborhoods of East Olympic Boulevard and South Indiana Street in Boyle Heights, and South Downey Road and Slausson Avenue in Vernon.

Most of the samples showed elevated levels of lead in the soil, including a sample from Salazar Park Preschool. The state concluded one home was above the hazardous waste level.

The state issued a community notice to residents with recommendations for reducing the risk posed by contaminated soil. Residents are urged to keep children away from bare soil, wash children’s hands when they come inside, and place doormats inside and outside entrance doors.

One woman whose home was tested told KCAL9’s Randy Paige she had not been informed of the results of the state report. She asked that her identity not be disclosed.

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“That’s scary. It is scary to find out,” she said.

John Moretta, Monsignor at Resurrection Church, said the state findings do not show the extent of contamination.

“It’s not just 39 homes, 39 homes that are tested. We’re talking about a whole community here,” he said.

A representative from Exide was unavailable for comment Monday.

The company has told state regulators in documents that it does not believe it is responsible for lead contamination in the area, citing lead paint and leaded gasoline.


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