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EPA Officially Releases Frisco Lead Report

By Jay Gormley, CBS 11 News
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FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – Terry Goods of Frisco is watching over his 3-year-old son.  As a father, he’s concerned about who’s watching over the air his family breathes.

“Absolutely, I’m always concerned about the environment my kid is in.”

The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that 16 areas across the country do not meet their air quality standards for lead.  One of them happens to be a 2-square mile zone inside Frisco city limits near Terry’s home.

“I guess my first question would be why Frisco?  It’s kind of up and coming with a lot of growth.”

According to the EPA, the air surrounding Exide Technologies, south of downtown Frisco, has unhealthy lead readings.  The area in question includes several subdivisions, apartment complexes, schools and parks. The EPA says lead can impair a child’s learning capabilities and behavior.

“I would hate to be in that situation 10 or 20 years from now dealing with an illness with my son.”

Exide Technologies is a battery recycling plant. The company admits lead levels near the plant do not yet meet EPA standards.  A spokeswoman says the plant has implemented a new air scrubbing technology and will soon meet those tougher standards.

Al Armendariz, the EPA’s Regional Administrator, said in a statement the EPA thinks the new guidelines will be in place soon.

“Today EPA designated nonattainment areas for lead based on the recommendation of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and Governor Perry.   In Region 6, the sole area exceeding the air quality standard for lead is in Frisco, Texas.   Frisco officials, the local community and the Exide company worked with TCEQ to reduce the plant’s permit limits for lead emissions and to model emission impacts in defining the nonattainment area.   As part of today’s nationwide announcement, EPA has adopted the boundaries proposed by TCEQ.   EPA continues to work with TCEQ, the Frisco mayor’s office and community to ensure the Exide plant reduces emissions to meet the air quality standard by the December 15, 2015 deadline.”

Earlier this month, in anticipation of the EPA’s report, Exide started offering Frisco resident free lead tests.  Dr. Vicki Davis has drawn blood from about 50 people so far.  “All of them that we have gotten back and we’ve gotten about 50 have been entirely normal. No alarming values at all,” says Dr. Davis.

The city of Frisco says the blood samples have been sent to an independent lab near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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