Health officials tour plant neighbors say is cancer cluster

Miami-Dade County officials tour King Recycling

Published On: Sep 14 2012 12:19:08 PM EDT   Updated On: Sep 16 2012 09:17:37 AM EDT
Group touring King Recycling
NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. -

Two Miami-Dade County commissioners got a crash course in metal recycling at a business residential neighbors claim is making them sick.

They toured King Recycling on Friday with county health and environmental staff visiting the northwest Miami-Dade business to ensure it was complying with a closure order. 

The lead health department investigator looking into a possible cancer cluster in the surrounding neighborhood said the data collection was under way, but could not confirm even the reports of illnesses.

Some residents staged a small protest across the street from the plant during the tour. Among them were those who brought pictures of dust and soot to the last commission meeting, complaining the plant was a nuisance and a hazard.

"The reason why I'm here is that justice will prevail and we'll treat it fairly as everybody else is treated," said Vannessa Shelton.

"I'm the one with asthma, and my kids and I did see all the dust," said Antoinette Moss.

The assistant director of the county's environmental said King Recycling, open for the last two years, did not have violations of environmental standards when it was operating.

"When they were operating, we didn't have violations of our environmental standards, the way the facility was operating," said Lee Hefty, the Miami-Dade Environmental Director. "There was a concern because the facility didn't meet the zoning standards. The building is supposed to be enclosed."

The county ordered the plant to close 10 days ago because of zoning issues; it had not complied with certain structural requirements required, including an enclosure wall, landscaping and parking.

The Miami-Dade Health Department is continuing its investigation.