Release 02-13
January 30, 2002 
CONTACT: Jerry Martin
Gennet Paauwe
(916) 322-2990


ARB Issues Notice of High Chromium Emissions
in San Diego Neighborhood

SACRAMENTO --  The California Environmental Protection Agency's Air Resources Board (ARB) and the San Diego Air Pollution Control District (SDAPCD) have notified San Diego public health officials that high levels of hexavalent chromium were detected near two San Diego chromium plating companies.

    Hexavalent chromium is a toxic air pollutant that can increase the risk of cancer even at very low levels.  It was identified by the ARB as a toxic air contaminant in 1986. The ARB adopted a statewide control measure in 1988 that requires small, medium, and large metal plating or anodizing businesses to strictly control emissions hexavalent chromium.  Those rules require all chromium plating facilities in California to reduce emissions by at least 95 percent.

    ARB Executive Officer Michael Kenny said, “These high levels of chromium are cause for concern.  This information further illustrates the need for the ARB and the San Diego Air Pollution Control District to work together to determine their cause and to take actions to protect Californians who live and work around these facilities.”

    The ARB conducted the chromium monitoring program that detected the unexpected levels of hexavalent chromium near the Carlson & Beauloye and Master Plating chrome plating facilities located in the Barrio Logan area. The sampling for hexavalent chromium was conducted for 13 days at six sampling sites within 200 feet of the facilities during December 2001.  Of the 87 samples collected, 29 samples had values above the limit of detection.  If the average level observed during the two week sampling period continued for a lifetime, nearby residents could experience an increase in the risk of cancer of approximately 150 per million persons exposed. This assumes that a person is breathing this level for 24 hours a day for 70 years.
    The ARB and the SDAPCD are committed to find out why the levels of hexavalent chromium are elevated near these two metal plating operations.  The ARB and the SDAPCD are taking immediate action to investigate the problem by:

    Once the cause of the high levels of hexavalent chromium is determined, the SDAPCD will be the lead agency to determine what steps are needed to lower emissions and exposures.

    "Levels of hexavalent chromium this high should not continue and we're concerned that long-term exposure to these levels can result in serious public health risks,” said Richard Sommerville, San Diego’s Air Pollution Control Officer.

    For more information about the ARB’s toxics program, click here.

    The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency.  ARB’s mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy.  The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

    The energy challenge facing California is real. Every Californian needs to take immediate action to reduce energy consumption. For a list of simple ways you can reduce demand and cut your energy cost, see our web site at

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