An investigation found hundreds of L.A. communities where large numbers of children tested high for lead. In 26 spots, both rich and poor, the rate is double that of Flint.
With its century-old Spanish-style homes tucked behind immaculately trimmed hedges, San Marino, California, is among the most coveted spots to live in the Los Angeles area.
Its public schools rank top in the state, attracting families affiliated with CalTech, the elite university blocks away. The city's zoning rules promote a healthy lifestyle, barring fast food chains.
Home values in L.A. County census tract 4641, in the heart of San Marino and 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles, can rival those in Beverly Hills. The current average listing price: $2.9 million.
But the area has another, unsettling distinction, unknown to residents and city leaders until now: More than 17 percent of small children tested here have shown elevated levels of lead in their blood, according to previously undisclosed L.A. County health data.
That far exceeds the 5 percent rate of children who tested high for lead in Flint, Michigan, during the peak of that city's water contamination crisis.