Los Angeles County health officials can shut down restaurants when they rack up health code violations, but they can’t stop polluters when toxic emissions threaten residents.
County supervisors want to change that. They approved a motion Tuesday seeking more enforcement teeth for the Department of Public Health, including the power to order the closure of facilities emitting harmful chemicals into the air.
The motion by supervisors Janice Hahn and Kathryn Barger says the health department has the authority under state law “to assess, investigate, and shut down restaurants or food facilities when they present a serious public health hazard” and “should be given similar authority to prevent chemicals from poisoning our communities.”
The move comes in response to frustrations in Paramount and other southeast L.A. County communities where health officials and air quality regulators have struggled to curb emissions from metal-processing plants after detecting high levels of Chromium-6 and other dangerous pollutants.