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Air Testing Continues To Show Low Health Risks Near Portland Glassmakers


Bullseye Glass in Southeast Portland is one of two glass companies that has voluntarily stopped using cadmium in and arsenic in its manufacturing of colored glasses.

Bullseye Glass in Southeast Portland is one of two glass companies that has voluntarily stopped using cadmium in and arsenic in its manufacturing of colored glasses.

Bryan M. Vance/OPB

Air testing conducted early this month near two Portland glassmakers shows no urgent health risks, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

Data collected from five monitors running 24 hours a day March 1-8 show no change in levels of metals in the air from the February testing results, and short-term health risk remains low, officials announced Thursday.

State agencies have been testing the soil and the air around two Portland glassmakers linked to heavy metal hot spots originally detected in moss samples. The discovery of the hot spots raised health concerns for people living nearby. Results announced earlier this month also showed low health risks from both the air and the soil.

The recent results were many times lower than what was measured near Bullseye Glass in October of last year. Those air testing results showed levels of arsenic at around 150 times the state’s health benchmark and levels of cadmium around 50 times higher.

The findings triggered public outcry and a reassessment of air pollution regulations for colored glassmakers, which use heavy metals in their operations.

Bullseye and Uroboros Glass voluntarily suspended use of the metals of concern in February. Uroboros Glass has signed an agreement with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to add pollution controls to its furnaces before it resumes using certain heavy metals.

Additional air testing was done at four locations in Southeast Portland, including a daycare center, Winterhaven Elementary, Powell Boulevard and SE 22nd Avenue, and Haig Street and SE 20th Avenue. Officials also tested at Tubman School in North Portland. The same sites were used for air testing in February, and the results of those tests also showed low health risks.

None of the sampling results were higher than the Oregon 24-hour screening levels, so an OHA toxicologist has determined there is no immediate health risk.

Weekly air monitoring data will continue to be reported each Thursday by an inter-agency group that includes DEQ, OHA and Multnomah County Health Department and published at SaferAir.Oregon.gov.

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