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  • Air data: Hexavalent chromium persists, but selenium levels drop
    Cement, rail, trucking, chrome-plating sites are potential chromium sources
    May 5, 2016
    State agencies continue to investigate the source of hexavalent chromium in the air in southeast Portland that has averaged above health-based targets since 24-hour monitoring began in early March.

    Authorities say they’re encouraged by the latest air monitoring data that show levels of the heavy metal selenium have returned to levels expected in urban environments. Selenium levels had jumped after Bullseye Glass Co. in southeast Portland increased use of selenium in its manufacturing process beginning April 6.

    Still, the persistence of increased hexavalent chromium readings over time remains a concern to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Oregon Health Authority, even as all metals collected by DEQ air monitors remain below Oregon 24-hour screening levels. Oregon 24-hour screening levels are short-term concentrations below which immediate health effects are not expected to occur.
    View the news release
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Got drugs you don’t need? Don’t flush them!
Recent news reports have brought attention to the presence of pharmaceuticals in Oregon’s waterways. A series of DEQ river basin assessments and monitoring studies for contaminants illustrates that trace amounts of drugs are present in waterways throughout the state.
You can help stop this pollution by following recommendations for disposing of your waste pharmaceuticals.
Metals emissions in Portland
Preliminary air quality monitoring data show high levels of cadmium and arsenic in the air near Southeast 22nd Ave. and Powell Boulevard in Portland. The data have prompted state agencies to investigate potential health risks from exposure to these metals. So far, data show that these metals are at levels above federal short term exposure guidelines and Oregon’s long-term health benchmarks.
To sign up for updates and for more information about what we know right now and what happens next, visit the new joint agency website: Safer Air Oregon.
- For information about industrial facilities in DEQ Northwest Region: Industrial Facilities
- Please send questions and concerns to DEQ at OregonAirToxics@deq.state.or.us 
- For answers to questions, call 211 or email the Oregon Health Authority hotline.