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LA County and South Coast Air Quality Management Sue Paramount Metal Over Toxic Emissions

Los Angeles County and the South Coast Air Quality Management District are suing a Paramount metal-processing plant concerning alleged excessive emissions of a toxic metal air pollutant identified by state and federal authorities as a human carcinogen.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court asks for civil penalties against Anaplex Corp. and an injunction directing that emissions not be allowed to exceed unacceptable levels of hexavalent chromium, also known as Chromium 6.

“This case involves Anaplex’s repeated and ongoing emissions of hexavalent chromium,” according to the complaint, which states the company’s operations involve the use of chromic acid anodizing and surface metal processing tanks.

An Anaplex representative did not immediately reply to an email sent Thursday for comment.

The SCAQMD began monitoring air in Paramount in late 2013 after complaints from residents about metallic odors, the suit states. In the first half of this year, the district detected elevated levels of hexavalent chromium that were “significantly higher that typical background levels in Southern California,” the suit states.

The district expanded its monitoring in October with new samples taken every few days, according to the complaint. The findings showed significantly higher levels of hexavalent chromium near the intersection of Garfield Avenue and Madison Street, close to where the Anaplex plant is located, the suit states.

An interior inspection of the plant by the district showed Anaplex has altered equipment that can cause the emission of air contaminants without getting permission from the district’s executive officer, the suit alleges.

The SCAQMD even found that excessive emissions occurred on Thanksgiving Day when the plant was closed, the suit states.

Although the district has made several demands to Anaplex regarding the alleged elevated emission levels, the SCAQMD “is informed and believes that Anaplex has continued to operate its business in the same manner that has produced the elevated and harmful levels of Chromium 6,” the suit states.

 

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