August 6, 2001
Jewelry Manufacturing Stopped in L.A. Jewelry District Building
After the discovery of hazardous air pollution, jewelry manufacturing was stopped in a building in the downtown Los Angeles jewelry district, the Los Angeles Times reports. In a June letter, the California Attorney General ordered the owners of the Park Central Building at 412 W. 6th St. to shut down operations until pollution control equipment is installed. About 120 of the building's 150 tenants are involved in manufacturing jewelry.
According to the L.A. Times, tests by the state toxic substance agency found hazardous levels of potentially cancer-causing heavy metals including cadmium, chromium, lead, copper, nickel, silver and zinc in air and dust samples taken from the building. The test results showed the air pollution was produced by furnaces and grinding and buffing operations in the building.
California Environmental Protection Agency officials say workers, customers and neighbors throughout the jewelry district may be exposed to dangerous pollutants. The agency asked the attorney general to sue the owners of the Park Central Building and two jewelry manufacturers based there, the L.A. Times reports. To date, no suit has been filed.
Local jewelry business owners fear the Park Central Building will be closed down completely and other building closures may come soon after. Business owners say that could put the jobs of over 15,000 jewelry workers in jeopardy.
- by Julia M. Duncan