The Portland-based manufacturing firm Precision Castparts Corporation is the number one toxic air polluter in the country in a new ranking released by the University of Massachusetts.
Precision Castparts is one of two Fortune 500 companies based in Oregon. It manufactures cast metal parts for airplanes, cars and industrial machinery at 150 plants worldwide. Several of those facilities are in Oregon.
Economics professor Michael Ash compiled the list of the top 100 toxic air polluters for the University of Massachusetts. He says the rankings are based on data collected by the Environmental Protection Agency. They account for the volume and toxicity of pollution at all of a company’s facilities as well as the health risk to people nearby.
The data show Precision Castparts operations release 110,000 pounds of toxic air pollution altogether in the U.S. Ash says it was the toxicity of the individual pollutants that put the company at the top of his list.
“What accounts for virtually all of Precision Castparts score is several facilities releases of several heavy metals: Chromium, cobalt and nickel,” he said. “Those three together represent 99 percent of the estimated risk to human health.”
Ash says the most toxic releases are coming from the company’s facilities in Southern California but that all of the emissions are very likely legal and permitted by the EPA. Precision Castparts says it is evaluating the results of the ranking.