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Environment & Science

Exide lays off more than 120 employees at Vernon plant



Community members including employees for Exide Technologies attend a meeting at the Huntington Park Community Center about air pollution from the Vernon, Calif. plant. (May 30th, 2013)
Community members including employees for Exide Technologies attend a meeting at the Huntington Park Community Center about air pollution from the Vernon, Calif. plant. (May 30th, 2013)
Mae Ryan/KPCC

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A lead battery recycler with a plant in Vernon has announced layoffs for its California employees as problems with environmental regulators grow. 

Georgia-based Exide Technologies says it’s issuing temporary layoff notices to more than 100 hourly workers and 20 salaried workers at its Vernon facility.

Right now the plant is closed, and last week Exide lost legal and regulatory appeals seeking more time to install equipment to reduce arsenic emissions.

RELATED: Exide FAQ: Everything you need to know about recycling lead batteries in LA

Last year, air regulators found that arsenic released during the recycling of old batteries had increased the cancer risks for more than 100,000 people living and working nearby. The company was given until last week to install the equipment.

Tests have also shown high levels of lead in the soil of homes around the plant.

The layoff notices don’t necessarily mean the Vernon facility is closing for good. Exide is still buying lead and selling other recyclable materials elsewhere. A representative for the company says it’s working cooperatively with regulators and needs more time to meet its obligations.