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I did some reading about the Doe Run plant. Here is the rest of the story. Ultimately it was the residents, especially those with children, that forced the EPA to set exposure limits on the plant and its demise.
Mid-Missouri Public Radio: The end of a lead-laced era: polluting smelter to close after 120 years
The dust in the streets and sidewalks that the kids played in was tested and contained 30 percent lead. The kids were then tested.
"We tested all the kids that lived in that first quarter-mile, half-mile, three-fourths mile, mile," explains Denise Jordan-Izaguirre with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2001, the agency worked with state and local health officials to try to test every kid under six for lead in their blood. The results, she says, weren't exactly surprising."
"I think we were all appalled – not surprised – appalled. That it was this bad."
Credit Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
They laid out the results like a bulls-eye, concentric circles of contamination radiating out from the Doe Run smelter. Within a quarter mile, 56 percent of kids had high levels of lead in their blood. At a half-mile, it was 52 percent. Jordan-Izaguirre says she’d never seen numbers like that, except in the developing world.
Various lawsuits started in 2001, and the decision to close the plant was made in 2008 under the Bush administration.
Also because some 95-98 percent of the lead in batteries is from recycled old batteries, there will not be a significant impact on battery prices. Most USA manufacturing plants use recycled lead from old batteries...the company in question operates plants that do just that...recycle batteries into new batteries. It's a recycling success story.
If the EPA hadn't acted, the State Health agency would have forced its closure.
Yes 270 people will be without jobs. No jobs are forever.
Read the article about the health effects on local residents.