ALEXANDRIA, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--SLAB Watchdog welcomes McClatchy News writer Tim Johnson’s hard hitting expose on SLAB exports to Mexico, “As U.S. tightens rules on lead emissions, battery recycling has moved to Mexico.” The March 25th story goes into great detail explaining the reasons behind the recent surge in SLAB exports and the many unanswered questions that surround the safety of battery recyclers across the border.
“Tim Johnson’s story is a welcome addition to the growing volume of in-depth reports on SLAB exportation,” said SLAB Watchdog’s Director Diane Cullo. “His investigation reinforces our call for immediate action to stop the flow of American SLABs to substandard Mexican recyclers. I encourage everyone to read this story and think twice about where their spent car battery actually goes once it is traded in.”
The McClatchy story accurately describes the sheer volume of SLAB exports being sent to Mexico, citing the Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s (CEC) estimate of a 525 percent increase in exports between 2004 and 2011. SLAB Watchdog’s own estimates show that more than 754 million pounds of SLABs were exported in 2011. As the McClatchy story references, that is the equivalent of 17,953 tractor trailers full of hazardous waste crossing the border each year.
The McClatchy report calls into question leading U.S. battery manufacturers’ claims that their Mexican plants conform to U.S. emissions standards. The report cites advocacy groups who say a single Johnson Controls plant emitted “more than six metric tons of lead into the air in 2010, 33 times the level of emissions expected” from a plant JCI recently opened in Florence, South Carolina. The reporter also notes that Mexican recyclers don’t publish worker blood lead levels and describes a regulatory regime governing Mexican recyclers that does nothing to stop recyclers from allowing lead to contaminate a recycling facility’s shop floor, the workers and the surrounding environment.
“Numerous independent studies prove that Mexican SLAB recycling is a threat to worker safety, child development and environmental pollution on a wide scale,” Cullo added. “But that is for the SLAB recyclers we know about. Tim Johnson’s story also notes there is a black market in American SLABs. Each year countless trucks containing tons of batteries stored incorrectly cross the border. We have no idea where or how these batteries are recycled. This is a prime example of the breakdown in the chain of custody for SLABs by American and Mexican regulators.”
“This latest story on SLAB exports shines yet another light on a problem that many people don’t know exists but we all play a part in,” Cullo concluded. “As the CEC’s Executive Director, Irasema Coronado said, ‘everyone who owns a car in North America owns this problem.’ SLAB Watchdog believes it’s about time we do something about it.”
For more information on the issue of SLAB exports, please feel free to contact Diane Cullo by phone at 703-244-5891, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.