Portland, OR—State inspectors this week continue visiting businesses in southeast Portland and added an additional hexavalent chromium air monitor in the area as the agencies' ongoing investigation into the source of elevated hexavalent chromium in the air continues.
Earlier this week, a new monitor was added near Reed College. The monitor, which will provide weekly data updates, will help the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality more accurately determine the source of hexavalent chromium. Air data from the monitor will be available with each weekly data release.
Among potential sources DEQ investigators are reviewing are a rail yard, trucking facility and two chrome-plating facilities. Agency review of operations at the Bullseye glass facility continues. Laboratory staff continue to collect and analyze wind data and may move additional air monitors to these areas in the coming days.
Emissions of hexavalent chromium have averaged above health-based targets since 24-hour monitoring began March 1. Arsenic levels are also above health-based targets, but they are consistent with levels that would typically be found in urban environments.
Increased hexavalent chromium readings over time remain a concern to DEQ and the Oregon Health Authority, even as other metals, except arsenic, collected by DEQ air monitors are below concentrations expected to affect health.
The target concentration for hexavalent chromium is 0.08 nanograms per cubic meter of air when compared to an annual average, but the 60-day average ranged between 0.0805 nanograms and 0.303 nanograms across the four monitoring locations.
According to the federal Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR), hexavalent chromium at high levels can damage the nose and cause cancer. Ingesting high levels of hexavalent chromium may result in anemia or damage to the stomach or intestines.
The persistently elevated hexavalent chromium levels do not indicate the need for any special precautions on the part of neighbors.
Weekly air monitoring data from southeast and north Portland are reported each week by the interagency group that includes DEQ and OHA, and published at http://SaferAir.Oregon.gov
. For information about the Cleaner Air Oregon initiative to align industrial air toxics regulations with human health, visit http://CleanerAir.Oregon.gov
• Jennifer Flynt, DEQ, 503-730-5924, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Jonathan Modie, OHA, 971-246-9139, PHD.Communications@state.or.us