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Exide Factory Closing After Reports Of Pollution

The Exide factory in Vernon, California, has been permenantly closed after regulators found it was releasing pollutants into the surrounding neighborhood. ATVN's Marc Sallinger has the story. 

Jesse Cruz and his family live just blocks away from the Exide Technologies battery recycling facility in Vernon. On Wednesday, Cruz received a notice that his blood tests show he has traces of lead in his blood stream. 

“We went to go do the blood tests, and it came out that I have lead in my blood,” said Cruz. “I really don’t know the consequences of that. I am going to have to get more tests done.”

On Thursdat, the U.S. attorney and Exide reached an agreement to shut down the plant immediately and for Exide to pay $50 million dollars to clean up the site. In exchange, Exide will not face criminal prosecution for environmental pollution. The acting U.S. attorney says residents can now breathe easier. 

“The pollution associated with the Exide facility has gone on far too long, and that ends today,” said acting U.S. Atty. Stephanie Yonekura.

In a statement, Exide president and CEO Robert M. Caruso said, “We recognize the impacts that closing the Vernon facility will have on our approximately 130 employees and their families.  On behalf of the company, I thank them and the United Steelworkers union for their commitment and dedication.” 

The traces of lead found in Jesse’s blood have not been traced directly back to the pollutants released from the Exide plant. Jesse hopes the closure will make his neighborhood safer. 

“It’s very scary knowing that we’re not breathing good healthy air,” said Cruz. 

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