Southeast Portland air near a manufacturing plant run by Precision Castparts is polluted with unhealthy levels of the heavy metals nickel, hexavalent chromium and arsenic.
That’s according to the first batch of data from air monitors placed near the industrial manufacturer. Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality released the data late Thursday.
The DEQ said some levels of the metals are above the state’s health-based benchmarks. State health experts said there is no immediate public health threat and no need for special precautions on the part of area residents. The state stepped up its pollution monitoring after elevated levels of toxic air were detected early this year around Precision Castparts and two glass manufacturers in Portland.
In a statement released late Thursday, a Precision Castparts spokesman said the company will immediately begin to review the latest data and continue to work with the DEQ to ensure its operations are safe for residents and the environment.
Neighbors of Precision Castparts filed class-action lawsuits in July against the company. They allege its toxic air emissions have harmed their health and decreased property values.
The three metals detected in the latest round of monitoring are known to cause cancer.
The latest data found that nickel concentrations were more than three times above the benchmark at the Springwater Trail and more than one time above the benchmark at two other monitoring locations.