Brighton Jeweler Receives Complaints for Melting Gold in Store
Brighton City Council members heard several complaints about Andre's Fine Jewelers during its Thursday night meeting.
Andre's Fine Jewelers received several complaints against its melting gold operations at the Brighton City Council meeting Thursday night.
Michael Monroe, a landlord with rentals adjacent to Andre's, said he has received several complaints of green smoke with foul smells coming from the exhaust vent in the back of the building on Main Street.
Moore provided a folder to all City Council members that included more than 10 written complaints from stylists and workers from Madison Alexis and others who live and work downtown.
Jim Starnes, owner of Two Brothers Coffee, said he became physically ill with a headache and nausea after smelling fumes from Andre's.
While Moore insisted that these complaints have been on multiple occasions, only one formal complaint was filed against the jewelry store. When the complaint was received last fall, owner Andre Duscio ceased all melting operations and is currently installing a better exhaust system.
Livingston County Building Official Jim Rowell said he investigated the complaint and determined that Andre's exhaust vents emit heat and steam as long as Duscio is only melting gold, which is okay to inhale because it contains no chemicals.
Duscio is currently waiting for the new exhaust system to be installed before resuming operations.
Duscio said that he melts 10, 14 and 18 carat gold, he does not smelt - which is a different process that can produce hazardous fumes. Most jewelers melt gold, according to Duscio, in order to do repairs.
"The EPA is absolutely fine with us melting gold," he said. "There are no hazardous fumes, that is what I'm trying to say. And we have intention of doing any refining - smelting. That is not our business. We just melt gold into small bricks so we can analyze the carats in order for us to buy gold from the public."
Duscio admitted to only one circumstance that emitted green smoke, and that was when a piece of wax fell into the melting area. He said that every other time, it has been white smoke.
Monroe wanted City Council members to take action to limit the process of melting gold to industrial locations only.
"There's no regulation - nobody's standing there watching what he's putting into these vents," Monroe said.
Duscio said that he was melting anywhere from three to 10 ounces of gold a day and that not being able to melt gold for the last several months has hurt his business.
"I cannot help certain clients, and then they go elsewhere," Duscio said.
City Manager Dana Foster said that after the new exhaust system is installed, he plans on asking a Brighton Area Fire Inspector to determine it safe.
"We believe that the city's existing mechanical code already addresses the situation," Foster said. "We have the means to address it, we have done so and we can again in the future. That's why I am stressing if people detect any noxious odor then report it. And if we find that they're (Andre's) is doing anything other than melting pure metals, then we will force them to cease and desist."
People can file a complaint with the City of Brighton by calling 810-227-1911. Foster said the city will investigate immediately.