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Portland, OR—Today, the US Forest Service (USFS) informed the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) that data from a study of metals concentrations in moss collected in the Portland area in 2013 had been subject to an unauthorized, premature disclosure. The data were released prior to any presentation to state or local agencies in Oregon.

DEQ and OHA have requested full and immediate access to the moss study data so scientists and health experts can quickly determine where to focus their investigation of potential health issues in Portland neighborhoods.

DEQ and OHA value the partnership with the Forest Service. To date, moss data have served as a vital screening tool for the presence of metals in the air.

Once we have the data, DEQ and OHA staff will take prompt, specific and science-based actions to determine whether there are potential health effects for the public. We will inform the public of our findings, identify the sources of metals and use every tool available to reduce any potential risks.

Jennifer Flynt, DEQ, 503-730-5924,
Robb Cowie, OHA, 503-421-7684,


Environment & Energy