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CEC probes Mexican battery recycler

Canada – After alarming reports from both citizen advocacy groups and the media, the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), headquartered in Canada, is conducting an in-depth investigation into the risks posed by a Mexican lead-acid battery recycling operation owned by Industrial Mondelo.

Approximately 20 million lead-acid batteries enter Mexico every year, with exports surging after the US Environmental Protection Agency implemented stricter air quality standards for airborne lead in 2008, says a recent report published by US group Occupational Knowledge International and its Mexican partner Fronteras Comunes.

The plant is claimed to represent a source of immediate danger in terms of the environment and health owing to Mexican limits for ambient concentrations of lead being 10 times higher than in the USA. ‘Even in small doses, exposure to lead dust and vapours in lead-contaminated air, water or soil has been associated with nervous system impairment in foetuses and young children, resulting in learning deficits and lowered IQ,’ says the CEC Secretariat.

The CEC expects to complete the investigation this year, and is urging any interested people and organisations to come forward with any relevant information. The findings will lead to non-binding recommendations to be discussed by the cabinet-level CEC Council, which includes important environmental authorities from Canada, the USA and Mexico.

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