The mom-and-pop-size companies who supply aerospace giants with specialized metal parts are locked in a battle with air regulators who are stepping up their scrutiny of the processes that take place in those structures.
Officials with the South Coast Air Quality Management District believe dozens of metal-finishing firms, many located in suburban communities not far from schools and homes, could be responsible for the release of chromium-6. Long-term exposure to that substance has been linked by medical researchers to lung and nasal cancer.
The manufacturers—some of which are smaller, highly specialized, family-run operations that cater to Boeing, Northrop Grumman and other major players in aerospace—see this as an unjustified attack on one of the region’s few thriving blue-collar industries. It’s an effort, they say, that could ultimately cost them their livelihood.
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