Take Action to Protect Nearly 1000 Kids, Teachers, and Staff in Watts
Dear elected and agency leaders:
Nearly 1000 kids, teachers, and staff at Jordan High School in Watts, Los Angeles, along with the residents of a low-income housing development called Jordan Downs, are threatened by razor sharp pieces of shrapnel that are being ejected onto school grounds. They're also being exposed to toxic chemicals including illegally high levels of lead, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other dangerous toxins. These are toxins that have been shown to have dangerous impacts on kids, including damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development, learning and behavior problems, and hearing and speech problems.
The conditions are a result of a company called Atlas Iron and Metal Company which is situated directly next door to Jordan High. See photo below.
I am shocked that city leaders have failed to protect the kids, teachers and staff at Jordan High School. If this was in a more affluent part of Los Angeles there can be little doubt that extraordinary steps would have been taken years ago to ensure that both the school and nearby housing development were not put at such extraordinary risk.
Extensive planning, environmental, and health code violations exist which are sufficient for authorities to take immediate administrative action to shut Atlas down. What's the point of these administrative codes if not to protect 3,000 kids from life-threatening shrapnel and lead poisoning?
The civil actions by the City Attorney and Attorney General have been completely ineffective, and even if they prevail in the years ahead, their cases wouldn't stop much if not most of the behavior. The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has found extensive violations that are sufficient for a criminal action. What are you waiting for?
This is one of the worst environmental injustices Los Angeles has seen in decades. Please take action immediately to protect this vulnerable population.