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Agencies find nickel, hexavalent chromium, arsenic above annual benchmarks
Portland, OR—The first set of data from two additional air monitors placed near industrial manufacturer Precision Castparts Corp (PCC) in southeast Portland show levels of heavy metals nickel, hexavalent chromium and arsenic above annual benchmarks.

Although some the levels of the metals are above health-based benchmark concentrations, they are all below Oregon 24-hour screening levels, so there is no indication of an immediate public health threat, according to Oregon Health Authority health experts. They also do not indicate the need for any special precautions on the part of residents in the area.

This data complements the existing air data from DEQ's monitor at SE 45th and SE Harney Drive. This data includes results from a monitor DEQ set up northeast of the facility at SE 52nd Ave. and SE Harney Drive and a monitor DEQ placed south of the facility at the Springwater Trail.

Nickel concentrations were over 3.4 times above the benchmark at the Springwater Trail monitor and 1.2 times above the benchmark at the SE 52nd Ave. and SE Harney Drive location. Hexavalent chromium concentrations were over 4.1 times above the benchmark at the Springwater Trail monitor and 1.5 times above the benchmark at the SE 52nd Ave. and SE Harney Drive location.

The data show arsenic levels are generally above the health-based air quality goal (ambient benchmark concentration) for the metal, although still within levels found in urban environments.

Data were analyzed to understand the impacts of additional air pollution controls PCC installed on May 16, 2016. Arsenic, cobalt, lead and nickel show marked decreases as a result of the controls. Hexavalent chromium showed no decrease. See additional analysis of this data at

DEQ will use wind direction information to further evaluate all the recently analyzed air data to better understand the sources of the detected metals. DEQ also will complete an inventory of potential sources in the vicinity as part of this analysis.

Last week, DEQ released information related to area soil sampling that was completed around the community. (See .) The higher levels of nickel in the Springwater Trail samples are reflected somewhat in soil as well as in the air results.

Health experts at OHA will use air, soil and water testing data to conduct a comprehensive public health assessment. OHA is seeking community members to participate in an advisory committee to inform the public health assessment.

An interagency group that includes DEQ and Oregon Health Authority is releasing today's data as part of the Cleaner Air Oregon initiative to align industrial air toxics regulations with human health. Find more information about Cleaner Air Oregon at

Keith Johnson, DEQ, 503-229-6431,
Jonathan Modie, OHA, 971-246-9139,


Environment & Energy