Dr. Monica Perales
Smeltertown Oral History Project
Summary of Interview
Andres Bustillos was raised in Smeltertown. He attended El Paso High School and the University of Texas at El Paso. He describes Smeltertown as a place where everyone knew everyone. Bustillos discusses the ASARCO led poisoning case, where fumes were being carried in the air. ASARCO sent flyers and held meetings inside of churches which rose awareness. Bustillos discusses his father attending these meetings and seeing people suffering of lead poisoning. He also discusses the political actions taken by those of Smeltertown, such as going to city council. When city council suggested that people move out of Smeltertown, but the majority did not because they were comfortable where they were. It was the newer families who launched complaints against ASARCO. He also detailed the migration of multiple families outside of the area into El Paso’s Southside and lower valley. He does acknowledge the health concerns of those who moved out of the area and a split within the community with those who did and did not file a lawsuit against ASARCO.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Interview with Andres Bustillos by Dr. Monica Perales, 1998, "Interview no. 1660," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.