Chrome Crankshaft and J&S Chrome Plating, Bell Gardens - Public Health Activities
From 2001 to 2005, the California Department of Public Health--formerly California Department of Health Services (CDHS)--conducted evaluations of the public health implications from contamination at both the Chrome Crankshaft and J&S Plating facilities.
The Chrome Crankshaft and J&S Chrome Plating sites operated as electroplating facilities from the late 1950s through the 1990s. The facilities are both closed. Due to ongoing community concerns, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) requested assistance from CDHS to evaluate whether chemical emissions from Chrome Crankshaft and J&S Chrome Plating in Bell Gardens, Los Angeles County, posed a health risk to the community. The two facilities were located adjacent to the Suva Elementary and Intermediate Schools, which are within the Montebello Unified School District.
CDHS's involvement at the sites
CDHS convened an advisory group of parents, school representatives, activists, and government agencies. With this group’s guidance and participation, CDHS staff reviewed drinking water quality, reviewed air modeling of historical releases from the facility, and assessed cancer rates for the area. CDHS also completed a health study to determine whether children who were exposed to chromium from the plating facility were more likely to have respiratory health problems. CDHS conducts its work under a cooperative agreement with the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
Evaluation of exposure to drinking water
In February 2001, CDHS and ATSDR released the final version of the public health assessment on water quality in the Bell Gardens area. Staff reviewed the water quality of the drinking water in the Bell Gardens area, which includes Suva Elementary and Intermediate schools. The city water system in Bell Gardens does not use any contaminated water, so no one has been exposed to site-related contamination in the drinking water.
Review of cancer rates
In January 2003, CDHS and ATSDR released a health consultation presenting results from a review of cancer rates for the
Evaluation of exposure to air releases
In December 2003, CDHS and ATSDR released an evaluation of air releases from Chrome Crankshaft and J&S Plating. In the report, CDHS concludes that historic (1963-1990) air releases of hexavalent chromium from the Chrome Crankshaft and J&S Plating facilities were not at levels that would cause noncancer health effects. However, during this time period, theoretical increased cancer risk estimations exceed current standards (greater than 1 additional cancer in 10,000 people), thus classifying the site as a past health hazard to the public. From 1991-1999, air releases of hexavalent chromium were substantially reduced and did not pose a health hazard to the public.
Health study on asthma in children
In April 2005, CDHS and ATSDR released the findings from a health study of schoolchildren. The plating shops released low levels of chemicals into the air and there were concerns that children may have had health problems from the emissions. CDHS conducted a health study among schoolchildren in the area designed to help find out if children had breathing problems because of chemicals in the air. The study found that the number of children with asthma in this community was similar to what has been reported for other communities. The study did not find that children who went to school near the chrome-plating shops were more likely to get asthma compared to children who attended other schools not near the facilities. However, studies like this are limited in what they can show. This study would not have shown if the children were only slightly more likely to get asthma than other children. It would only have been able to show if they were much more likely to get asthma.
En Español: Boletín Informativo resumiendo el estudio de salud [4/05]
- CA Counties: Los Angeles