But in many areas of Mexico, batteries are being dismantled by men wielding hammers, and their lead melted in furnaces whose smokestacks vent to the air outside, where lead particles can settle everywhere from schoolyards to food carts.
Mexican environmental officials acknowledge that they lack the money, manpower and technical capacity to police a fast-growing industry now operating in many parts of the country.
Children At Serious Risk Of Lead Exposure
From The New York Times:
The recycling factory has put a neighborhood of children at serious risk of lead exposure, said Marisa Jacott, director of Fronteras Comunes, an environmental group in Mexico City. Ms. Jacott wants to test young residents living near the plant but lacks the money to do so. The town’s elementary school is on the same block as the recycling plant, which recently moved the bulk of its operations to a larger facility elsewhere. Lead pollution remains in the ground for decades.
A sample of soil collected by The Times in the schoolyard showed a lead level of 2,000 parts per million, five times the limit for children’s play areas in the United States set by the Environmental Protection Agency. In most states, that would rate as a “significant environmental lead hazard” and require immediate remediation, like covering the area with concrete or disposing of the soil.
Exposure to lead can affect the natural development of kids and cause severe developmental disabilities, and now, as a result of this illegal exporting, the very ground in which Mexican children are playing is contaminated.
Take Action Now
But it doesn’t have to be like this. The U.S. government could require that Mexican factories processing used batteries from the United States meet U.S. environmental standards and undergo inspections. The Food and Drug Administration inspects foreign factories that make drugs imported into the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency could take on a similar role for battery recycling plants.
Click here to sign our petition asking the Environmental Protection Agency to require that Mexican factories processing used batteries from the United States meet the U.S. environmental standards and undergo inspections.
Photo Credit: Barnaby
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