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OHA News Release

Media contact:
Jennifer Flynt
Oregon DEQ 503-730-5924
Technical contact:
Additional contacts:
Jonathan Modie
OHA Public Health 971-246-9139
Julie Sullivan-Springhetti
Multnomah County 503-709-9858


Most metals in air near glass factories stay at urban concentrations

SE Portland monitors continue to see higher-than-expected hexavalent chromium

New air monitoring data show levels of most heavy metals near two Portland glass factories are staying at or below concentrations expected in urban environments, and well below levels of immediate health concern.

The new data, culled from 24-hour air monitors deployed in southeast Portland near Bullseye Glass Co. and north Portland near Uroboros Glass, cover sampling between April 1 and April 4. They show concentrations of most metals, including cadmium and arsenic, have remained below levels that would be expected in urban environments.

None of the sampling results were higher than the Oregon 24-hour screening levels. That means there is no immediate or urgent health risk related to these new results. Oregon 24-hour screening levels are short-term concentrations below which immediate health effects are not expected to occur.

State investigators are looking into elevated hexavalent chromium levels that have occurred at the southeast Portland monitoring sites. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality officials are analyzing wind speed and direction to help identify potential sources and will continue to monitor in the area.

The levels of metals measured in the air near Bullseye through April 4 were many times lower than those metals measured there in October 2015, according to air monitoring results. They can be found on the SaferAirOregon website.

An interagency group that includes DEQ, Oregon Health Authority and Multnomah County Health Department is working to better understand potential long-term effects of the metals from emissions at the glass companies and other sources in the coming months. The group, led by OHA, is conducting a comprehensive analysis of air, soil, cancer and urine cadmium test data, and will seek community input that will inform two public health assessments (PHAs)—one for the area around Bullseye and one for the area around Uroboros. The PHAs are expected to be ready for public comment this fall.

Weekly air monitoring data will continue to be reported each Thursday by the interagency group and published at SaferAir.Oregon.gov.

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