Southern California air pollution officials have moved to clamp down on toxic emissions from two battery recycling plants in Los Angeles County.
The regulations, announced this week, are designed to meet the first new federal standards for airborne lead pollution in three decades, which were adopted in 2008.
But Shankar B. Prasad, a physician with the Sacramento-based Coalition for Clean Air, said the South Coast Air Quality Management District "missed a great opportunity to enforce a more health-protective limit on lead emissions, even when the technology is readily available."
Few poisons are as damaging to the brain as airborne lead particles. Lead attacks the nervous and reproductive systems, causes cognitive and behavioral changes and increases the risk of cancer. Children are especially vulnerable, and as lead accumulates in their bodies, it can cause learning disabilities and affect IQ, memory and behavior, according to the AQMD.