VERNON, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say tests have found elevated lead levels in the soil of 39 homes and two schools near a Southern California battery recycling plant.

State officials announced the test results Monday. Officials ordered Exide Technologies in Vernon to perform more tests and gave the company until March 21 to come up with a plan to protect children and pregnant women in the area.

They say the lead levels aren't an immediate health threat but they're urging people to keep children away from bare soil and thoroughly wash their hands when they come inside.       

A message seeking comment from an Exide spokeswoman wasn't immediately returned.

In January, regional air quality officials sued Exide for $40 million, claiming the plant exposed people to cancer-causing chemicals such as arsenic.