In 2017, regional and state agencies began focusing their efforts to regulate the metal finishing industry, and legislation was passed using methods and references which were outdated.
Without the metal finishing industry, life on the public would become difficult for producers, workers, and consumers. From aerospace parts to electronic devices and jewelry, it’s all thanks to the hard workers of the metal finishing industry for crafting these everyday necessities. As well, our fellow finishing corporations are employing and supporting thousands of inner-city families with jobs that are otherwise dying off in the manufacturing world.
In 2017, regional and state agencies began focusing their efforts to regulate the metal finishing industry, and legislation was passed using methods and references which were outdated. One of the main concerns resided with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) who is monitoring these metal finishing companies in order to inspect the levels of Hexavalent Chromium, a dangerous chemical, in the community. Like everything in life, too much of anything has high costs especially chemicals that cause a long-term risk of cancer. However, the risk of cancer was known to occur only over decades of prolonged exposure to the chemical. The problem with these so-called investigations, which were implemented to push for more regulation and change of laws, is that their information was outdated and being pulled from research done in 1975. Equipment back then was almost incomparable to the refined and state-of-the-art technology used now that has greatly reduced health risks and has the safety of everyone in mind.
Read more about the AQMD and it’s faulty regulations in this 2017 Our Weekly Los Angeles Article:
The California State Legislature recently finalized legislation dealing with air pollution and climate change in a way that recognizes the cost of doing business for manufacturing and oil companies. This has been heralded as a grand compromise that balances business, jobs and the environment. Meanwhile, regional and state agencies have a new target in the Los Angeles region as they seek to regulate another industry, this one right here in our own community—the metal finishing industry.
From airplane bodies and wings, medical devices, musical instruments, jewelry, and guitars, metal finishers create some of California’s most familiar, important and artistic products in the world. These companies are located throughout our region, including in Compton, Paramount, Bell Gardens, City of Industry and Los Angeles. Using sophisticated and state of the art technology, they employ and support thousands of inner-city families at a time when such jobs are vanishing within our fading manufacturing industry.
Of particular concern, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) is currently monitoring metal finishing companies in Compton to determine the levels of a chemical known as Hexavalent Chromium in our community. Like hundreds of chemicals—including those found in alcoholic beverages, aspirin, and gasoline—there is the potential for long-term risk of cancer, but only at prolonged high levels of exposure over decades. Using data from 1975, AQMD wants to set a level of 1.0 nano-gram per cubic meter for the community near the plants.
This doesn’t add up.
• After all, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set a level of 5,000 nanograms (one-billionth of a gram) per cubic meter for workers in metal finishing companies.
• The National Institute of Occupation Safety and Health has set a recommended exposure limit of 200 nanograms per cubic meter as a guideline specifically for health protection.
• The current European guideline set by the Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits (SCOEL) is 1,000 nanograms per cubic meter.
Despite this huge disconnect, AQMD has set up monitoring programs throughout Compton, trying to find actual Hexavalent Chromium levels and reporting the results on almost a daily basis on its website: www.aqmd.gov.
While the Hexavalent Chromium levels are nearly non-existent, some of the highest readings they have been able to detect have occurred on Sundays when the metal finishing companies are closed. This suggests other sources might be producing Hexavalent.
Their proposed regulations and why they would like to cap exposure for levels for local residents living near metal finishing at less than 1.0 nano-grams raises several questions:
• Why does AQMD believe it should set a level of 1.0 nano-gram for residents living around metal finishing businesses when it is so far from all other standards? [For example, OSHA has a standard level of 5,000 nanograms for workers coming in direct contact with the chemical; other agencies have set 200 to 1,000 nano-grams as safe levels]
• Why is AQMD relying on 1975 data and not more current science?
• Why are some of AQMD’s readings higher on Sundays, when the companies are closed?
• Why is AQMD not monitoring or concerned with other sources in Compton, including forging companies, painters, auto shops, recyclers, concrete mixing, and transfer stations and heat-treating facilities?
• Why is AQMD singling out metal finishers and using old, inaccurate data to go after these companies, which is say they are being harassed by the district.
View original article on Our Weekly Los Angeles