Target: Douglas Guthrie, President and CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles
Goal: Clean up toxic heavy metals threatening the health of an entire neighborhood.
A Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) construction site in the Jordan Downs housing community may be contaminated with high levels of cadmium, mercury, antimony, and lead, toxic metals that may threaten the health of the surrounding community. The construction site is the former location of a steel factory which, at the time of its 2008 purchase, contained waste oil tanks, evidence of oil spills, and ‘unidentified liquids,’ according to a HACLA memo.
Furthermore, HACLA internal files raise concerns that the land is contaminated and that contamination may have migrated into surrounding community. Of 30 soil samples taken by the California Department of Toxic Substance control, 14 had lead levels above 80 parts per million, the state ‘cause for concern’ level. The samples had similarly high levels of cadmium and arsenic. Despite these concerns, the construction site allegedly did not undergo full testing, and little to no protective measures have been taken to protect the community.
While no definitive link has been found, many residents of the Jordan Downs Housing Community report developing health problems such as respiratory conditions, cancers, chronic nosebleeds, reproductive issues, and mental health conditions after moving to the community. There are concerns that if construction continues without additional measures to protect the community, the contamination could spread and worsen. Sign our petition to demand that HACLA produce a plan to combat this contamination.
Dear Mr. Guthrie,
I was shocked to hear allegations that HACLA has repeatedly ignored or misrepresented tests showing high levels of lead, antimony, mercury, and cadmium in the soil in the Jordan Downs Housing Community. I was outraged to hear that construction is progressing, allegedly without adequate safeguards to protect the community from further contamination. I urge you to halt construction pending the development of an effective plan to protect the Jordan Downs Housing Community from these toxins.
Secondly, I believe it is in the interest of the community to have an accurate understanding of the levels of contamination. Therefore, averaging test results is not acceptable, as it produces an unrealistic view of contamination levels when levels can vary dramatically. While the average levels of lead may be minimally above levels of concern, the community deserves to know what areas have the highest levels of toxins. I urge you to work toward an open, and forthright correspondence with the community regarding this issue.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Matti Mattila