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12 Schools Near Exide Plant To Be Tested For Lead

BOYLE HEIGHTS ( — After a year of fighting, a dozen schools near the Exide Technologies battery-recycling facility in Vernon will be tested for lead.

Lorena Street Elementary School is one of 12 schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District near the now-defunct battery-recycling facility.

The plant was forced to shut down after admitting it dumped hazardous waste into the environment for two decades.

The state department of Toxic Substances Control has tested soil surrounding the homes, parks and private schools in the area, and preliminary results showed widespread contamination.

But the LAUSD has not allowed its schools to be tested because the district first wanted to be assured Exide would have to pay for the cleanup, if necessary.

Robert Laughton, the LAUSD's director of Environmental Health and Safety, says the district had been assured there is no immediate health risk and that the DTSC has been unwilling to guarantee Exide will pay for the cleanup.

"Our business is to keep our children safe and to educate them and I can't use general fund dollars to go and clean up somebody else's pollution," Laughton said.

But Laughton says an agreement is expected to be finalized in the next few days and testing will begin soon.

Laughton says he wants parents to know that "regardless of what the results are, they will be cleaned up." Even, he says, if the district has to pay for it.

For a complete list of schools that will be tested, click here.

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