Heart of Frisco Officially Doesn't Meet Lead Standards

EPA says 1.6-square-mile area of city has high levels of lead

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    The heart of Frisco, including City Hall and Frisco Square, has unacceptably high levels of lead in the air, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday.

    The area of concern is a 1.6-square-mile zone around a battery recycling plant operated by Exide Technologies Inc. But the agency had initially proposed that a 2.4-square-mile area around the plant would be in violation of the new lead pollution standards.

    Parts of Frisco in Violation of Air Pollution Standards

    [DFW] Parts of Frisco in Violation of Air Pollution Standards
    A smaller area than initially proposed has unacceptably high levels of lead in the air, the EPA says. (Published Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010)

    The city is one of 16 areas in the country that don’t meet new federal air quality standards, the EPA said.

    Even small particles of the metal can cause health problems, the agency said. The government significantly lowered acceptable levels for lead in 2008.

    Frisco city leaders said they were pleased the EPA reduced the area designated out-of-compliance from an initial 2.4 square miles to 1.3 square miles.

    The area still designated out-of-compliance includes Frisco Square, City Hall and the police station.

    "It's not the most pleasant thing to go through,” City Manager George Purefoy said. “It's just something we have to work our way through and get solved, and I think we're well on our way to getting it solved."

    Exide Technologies said it has worked to reduce lead emissions and offered to pay for blood tests of nearby residents who are concerned they may be contaminated.

    "I'm highly confident that when the blood testing is completed that nobody will show positive lead results as a result of emissions from this facility,” said Don Barar, plant manager.

    Exide Technologies took over the facility in 2000 to recycle old car batteries. The battery plant originally opened in 1964.

    Donna Hill, an unemployed machinist who has lived almost next door to the plant for 23 years, said she planned to get her blood tested on Thursday.

    "If there's lead in my blood, I want to know it's there,” Hill said. "The wind when it blows from the south comes right across my house."

    But Hill said she is not alarmed.

    "I haven't had any bad health issues other than normal sickness -- you know, colds and things like that,” she said. “I've never been sick."

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