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Extreme Ford Applies for AutoBody/PaintShop
Adjacent Neighbors Opposed To Pollution

May 12, 2002

Extreme Ford has applied for a "Service Center" near 148th and Metcalf that includes an AutoBody Repair/Paint Shop, along with 340+ parking spaces to store new, used, and damaged cars. This facility is being placed right next to Blue Valley Meadows and Regency By The Lake residential neighborhoods (see Site Plan). These neighborhoods are very concerned about the toxic, cancer causing emissions from autobody paint shops and have considerable evidence to back them up.

Toxic Chromium Banned From Paint Shops In California, But Not Yet Kansas

One of the most toxic chemicals identified by the EPA, hexavalent chromium in the form of lead chromate, is used in auto paints. California has banned the use of this chemical, along with cadmium, as of January 2003. In its news release, the California Air Resources Board stated:

The elimination of these two substances from automotive coatings will reduce the significant cancer risk that occurs at low exposure levels. This reduction will go a long way in protecting public health, especially those who live near auto body repair and paint shops.

The regulation states:

"(d) Standards for Motor Vehicle and/or Mobile Equipment Coating Products

Except as provided in subdivision (e), no person shall sell, supply, offer for sale, or manufacture for sale in California any motor vehicle and/or mobile equipment coating product that contains hexavalent chromium or cadmium.

No owner or operator of a motor vehicle and/or mobile equipment coating facility shall use or possess a motor vehicle and/or mobile equipment coating product prohibited under subdivision (d)(1) after 12 months from the effective date of this regulation.

For the purposes of subdivision (d)(1), a coating product "contains hexavalent chromium or cadmium" if hexavalent chromium or cadmium was introduced as a pigment or as an agent to impart any property or characteristic to the coating during manufacturing, distribution, or use of the applicable coating.

Kansas does not ban the use of these paints, so nearby residents will be at risk. Some municipalities in Johnson County have banned the placement of autobody repair/paint shops next to neighborhoods. Overland Park has not yet taken this step to protect its residents.

The paint manufacturer is not required to list hexavalent chromium as an ingredient on its paint, so even the best intentioned owners of the paint shops will not know that they are releasing this carcinogen into the environment. The California regulations even allow paints with cadmium and chromium to be shipped out of California to states such as Kansas which have not awakened to their toxicity.

Federal Government Lists Chromium As Carcinogen

The Federal Centers for Disease Control fact sheet on this chemical states:

"How likely is chromium to cause cancer?

Several studies have shown that chromium(VI) compounds can increase the risk of lung cancer. Animal studies have also shown an increased risk of cancer.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that chromium(VI) is a human carcinogen.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that certain chromium(VI) compounds are known to cause cancer in humans.

The EPA has determined that chromium(VI) in air is a human carcinogen."

Children Near Paint Shops At Particular Risk

In one study, children who live near autobody repair centers were found to be at particular risk:

"Excesses of leukemias and other cancers among children were found near the following kinds of industries:

** oil refineries, major oil storage installations, railside oil distribution terminals, and factories making bitumen (a British term for asphalt, crude petroleum and tar).

** automobile factories, auto body construction factories, and auto body repair shops;

The EPA, in the above mentioned fact sheet on chromium states:

"How does chromium affect children?

We do not know if exposure to chromium will result in birth defects or other developmental effects in people. Birth defects have been observed in animals exposed to chromium(VI).

It is likely that health effects seen in children exposed to high amounts of chromium will be similar to the effects seen in adults.

How can families reduce the risk of exposure to chromium?

  • Children should avoid playing in soils near uncontrolled hazardous waste sites where chromium may have been discarded."

The EPA in a document on chromium also states:

" Inhalation of Chromium (IV) resulted in lung cancer in workers so that it is classified as Group A, known human carcinogen. There is limited information that human inhalation of chromium during pregnancy is associated with complications during pregnancy. In some experimental animal studies, ingested chromium crosses the placenta to accumulate in the fetuses and severe developmental effects were reported."

California has instituted a special air quality monitoring program focused on children, the Children's Environmental Health Protection Program which states:

"Children can sometimes be more at risk than adults from the harmful health effects of air pollution. Changes to state law (Senate Bill 25, Escutia 1999) established specific requirements to examine the impacts of air pollution on children's health. We are conducting special studies to determine whether the current network established to measure air pollution in California adequately reflects the levels of air pollutants that infants and children are breathing."

Among chemicals being monitored are hexavalent chromium. Here is a graph of pollutant risks showing the risks in one community.

A good source for chromium information is Chromium Central.

Air Filters Do Not Solve The Problem

Filters used by paint shops can reduce, but not eliminate, the emissions of lead chromate. Since both Regency by the Lake and Blue Valley Meadows neighborhoods directly abut the proposed development and the lot designated for the autobody repair/paint shop is place right next to them, these neighborhoods are opposed to this developer's application.

Although there appear to be few Kansas or Federal regulations that apply to autobody paintshops and their emissions of chromium, if the shop uses a "Decorative Chromium Plating or Anodizing Tank" it must follow the EPA regulations.

Other Toxic Chemicals Also A Concern

NeighborhoodNet was recently asked by the EPA to include links to its updated information on autobody shops which includes best practice recommendations. The EPA article begins with the paragraph:

"Automotive refinishers, who spray-paint cars, use harmful chemicals, including:
  • Diisocyanates , the leading cause of occupational asthma.
  • Solvents volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) linked to numerous health effects.

The DfE Program is working with the automotive repair industry and individual shops to increase awareness of the health and environmental concerns associated with refinishing activities and to identify and encourage the use of safer, cleaner, more efficient practices and technologies. "

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