DTSC’s Top 6 Myths About Metal Recycling in California

In an effort to collect millions of dollars in fees by imposing unnecessary regulations on metal shredding facilities in California, the State Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has embarked on a misguided campaign designed to achieve its self-serving goals. Here are some of the biggest myths DTSC is promoting:

FACT: Metal shredding is a very sophisticated process that recovers valuable steel, aluminum, zinc, copper and other metals from cars and large appliances. Most of the metal comes from consumer items we encounter every day – scrap metal is not a hazardous material.  For 40 years it has been safely purchased and processed at metal shredding plants. The scrap metal has never been considered hazardous. At the very end of the metal recovery process, the leftover remnants from upholstery, carpet, wood and dirt is chemically treated with cement and safely disposed in landfills.


DTSC is suddenly trying to claim that the entire metal recovery process is “hazardous waste treatment.” This assertion defies common sense and decades of practice.

FACT: In more than 40 years of successful and safe operations, there have been no documented public health problems stemming from metal shredding and recycling. DTSC has not provided any data or scientific proof a problem exists. Period.

A wide range of government agencies already require permits and regulations that ensure safety. The industry employs sophisticated technology to monitor and prevent environmental and health threats.

FACT: Metal shredding and recycling facilities are already heavily regulated by numerous federal, state, regional and local government entities. Water boards protect water. Air districts protect air quality. Fire departments ensure required safeguards are in place. Cal-OSHA protects workers on site.

FACT:   There has been no community outcry about metal shredding and recycling. DTSC has conducted several community hearings, which are serving as fishing expeditions designed to “generate” concerns that will legitimize DTSC regulations.

FACT: Fires at metal shredding facilities are extremely rare and do not pose a danger to the public. Facilities work closely with fire officials to ensure safety precautions are in place. There are more car fires on the road in one day in California than have taken place at shredder facilities over the past 10 years several years.

FACT: DTSC has failed to manage its own budget and programs. Most knowledgeable observers know that DTSC has failed to properly regulate the existing hazardous waste facilities like Exide Battery . If it cannot manage existing programs, it is ridiculous to think DTSC can or should oversee the metal recycling industry. DTSC’s proposal is redundant and has no basis in science or common sense.

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