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Frisco Plant Fails Federal Standards, Citizen Group Wants It Gone

By Jack Fink, CBS 11 News
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The Environmental Protection Agency seal displayed on a podium in Washington, D.C. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Environmental Protection Agency seal displayed on a podium in Washington, D.C. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – A new citizen’s group is targeting a battery recycling plant that is emitting lead into the air.

Exide Technologies has operated a plant near the Dallas North Tollway north of Stonebrook Parkway since 1965.

About a one square mile area around the facility is one of 16 across the country that fails to meet federal air quality standards for lead emission.

Former Councilwoman Joy West co-founded the Get The Lead Out Frisco Colation with the mayor’s wife, Val Maso.

“Our goal is to have Exide pack up and leave,” West said.

Last week, they mailed 5,000 petitions to homeowners and say that 600 of those have already been signed.

“Children are the root of our community and if there is a safety hazard that needs to be addressed, we just felt like it was the time to address it,” West said.

Richard Anzaldua has lived near Exide Technologies’ battery recycling plant in Frisco for the past 18 years. He said he is concerned in light of the recent reports.

“The city should do something about it and move the company out,” he said.

Research has shown even low levels of lead can cause developmental problems for children and health problems for adults.

A new bill by Texas Sen. Florence Shapiro (R – Plano) would require Exide to conduct a health risk assessment, install the latest and best technology to reduce lead emissions and allow public access to data from air monitors.

An Exide spokeswoman said the company opposes the bill.

“It’s just an undue regulatory burden on us going forward because our industry is already heavily regulated,” said company spokeswoman Susan Jaramillo.

The plant has been shut down for the past three weeks. Exide said it is in the process of making a variety of improvements to reduce the lead it emits into the air.

Exide said it’s spending up to $20 million to cut lead emissions by 90 percent by November of 2012.

To West and others, however, that isn’t good enough. Late last month, the state conducted blood tests for concerned residents.

The city said the results will be released in 60 to 90 days. Exide has also offered free blood tests as well.

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