Exide Cleanup: Parents Outraged After Kids Return to Schools Still Contaminated With Lead

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Children at three elementary schools near the closed Exide Technologies battery recycling plant returned to classes this week to find parts of their campuses fenced off to protect them from lead-contaminated soil.

Crews installed temporary fencing at Fishburn Avenue Elementary in Maywood, Lorena Street Elementary in Boyle Heights and Rowan Avenue Elementary in East Los Angeles after testing found elevated levels of the brain-damaging metal in several areas, Los Angeles Unified School District officials said.

The district began putting up fencing last week under the instructions of toxic waste regulators, who are overseeing the massive effort to find and remove contaminated soil from homes, schools, day care centers and parks near the former recycling facility in Vernon.

The fenced-off areas included dead grass and bare soil near classroom buildings and at the base of trees at a playground, as well as front lawns where children play, said Robert Laughton, director of the school district’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety.

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