November 5th, 2015
Dallas, TX (November 5, 2015) — An opinion piece published on CNN’s website — authored by Dr. Christopher Sellers, professor of history at Stony Brook University, and Dr. Jay Turner, associate professor of environmental studies at Wellesley College — makes a compelling case for immediate action by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to strengthen rules to curb airborne lead exposure, and curtail the export of spent lead acid automotive batteries to Mexico.
“Professors Sellers and Turner have captured the ongoing threat of the continued export of millions of pounds of spent lead acid batteries to developing countries,” stated RSR President Robert E. Finn. “I don’t see how EPA can fail to halt immediately exports of lead acid batteries and strengthen regulations on airborne lead exposure for America’s children.”
The authors argue an important case against the continued export of lead acid batteries to Mexico. They correctly state that the volume in battery exports has grown by 500 percent between 2004 and 2011. During that time, Mexico has done little to improve its regulations on lead emissions, which continue to lag the United States. The solution to this problem is clear. The United States, Mexico, and Canada should immediately implement the recommendations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)-chartered Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) to raise standards across the board on lead processing and recycling.
The environmental and health and safety regulatory regimes under which secondary lead smelters operate in the U.S. are decades ahead of those in place in Mexico, as recognized by the CEC. Yet some 20 percent of the available supply of spent lead acid batteries are exported to Mexico, where the outdated regulatory regime fails woefully short of protecting human health and the environment.
“The authors are absolutely correct to point out the dangers of lead acid battery exports,” Mr. Finn added. “We cannot continue to send lead to Mexico to be recycled under regulations that are decades out of date. We cannot turn a blind eye. EPA must act and act quickly.”
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