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Agreement protects public health from metals emissions as new regulatory rules are being considered by the Environmental Quality Commission to address air toxics from colored art glass manufacturers
Portland, OR—Today the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality announced a new agreement with Uroboros Glass Studios, Inc. that restricts the use of cadmium, chromium and nickel to protective levels as determined by the Oregon Health Authority. Uroboros has not used arsenic for more than 20 years and this agreement establishes a formal commitment to refrain from the use of arsenic. The agreement also establishes new conditions specific to Uroboros' operation that must be met before operations using these metals can resume.

“We appreciate Uroboros' cooperation in reaching this agreement so it can return to partial operations under new conditions that are protective of public health,” said DEQ Acting Director Joni Hammond. “This agreement is critical in filling a regulatory gap that persists until temporary rules are adopted by the Environmental Quality Commission and is a necessary step to ensure public health is protected as the public rulemaking process is carried out.”

The Environmental Quality Commission is taking public comment on temporary rules to address air toxics from small colored art glass manufacturers until March 30 and will take up the matter again at the Commission's April 20 and 21 meeting in Portland.

The agreement is effective immediately and will complement any additional rules set by the EQC next month. Specifically the terms of the agreement include that Uroboros:

- Install one or more emission control devices to control all glass-making furnaces that use arsenic, cadmium, chromium or nickel to protect public exposure to these metals from production and test an emission control device to ensure proper operation.

- Commit to not using arsenic, cadmium, chromium VI in raw materials in any uncontrolled glass-making furnace.

- Cease the use of chromium III and chromium VI in a controlled or uncontrolled glass-making furnace until DEQ establishes maximum allowable chromium III and chromium VI usage rates that will not result in ambient concentrations that exceed levels that put public health at risk.

- Limit the use of nickel from uncontrolled glass-making furnaces to a level that does not exceed a Maximum Weekly Usage limit.

- Maintain daily records of all batches produced and provide to DEQ the daily amount of metals used.

The agreement also clarifies that Uroboros will be subject to any additional rules adopted by the EQC and failure to comply in full with the terms of this agreement will result in enforcement action that could include penalties and fines. The agreement terminates in five years or when DEQ issues a new permit that incorporates any new air toxic provisions and regulations adopted by the EQC.

“We appreciate the steps DEQ and Uroboros are taking to protect public health by controlling emissions of toxic metals,” said Lynne Saxton, Director of the Oregon Health Authority. “Our health scientists have reviewed the target emission levels proposed in the agreement. Based on current science, emissions at these levels do not pose significant risks to people, including children.”

As the Environmental Quality Commission continues to consider temporary and permanent rules relating to air toxics, DEQ may work with other affected colored art glass manufacturers in Oregon to enter into similar agreements tailored to individual facilities so operations can resume in a manner that is responsible and protective of public health.

For a full copy of the agreement with Uroboros, click on

For more information on the EQC temporary rule making process and public comment period, click on

Leah Feldon, Oregon DEQ, 503-229-6408,
Nina DeConcini, Oregon DEQ, 503-804-0840,


Environment & Energy