Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued a cease and desist order Thursday against Bullseye Glass Co. in Portland.
The move comes after the Department of Environmental Quality found toxic levels of lead in air monitors near a daycare facility.
DEQ officials recorded lead levels at three times the 24-hour benchmark. Exposure to lead has been shown to decrease IQ levels in children.
“Public health and safety are my highest priorities,” Brown said in a statement. “This swift action and public notification will help ensure the well-being of local residents who live and work in the area.”
Brown’s order allowed DEQ to require Bullseye to stop using lead, beryllium, cadmium, all chromium compounds, cobalt, manganese, nickel and selenium in any uncontrolled furnace for the next 10 days.
The order still allows Bullseye to use those metals in a furnace with an operational baghouse. The company has one baghouse and is in the process of building others, but none of those units are fully operational, according to Keith Johnson with DEQ.
Officials with Bullseye were not immediately available for comment.
DEQ Laboratory Program Manager Brian Boling said the lead samples near the daycare were collected May 9, but did not work their way through the testing process until May 18. Once DEQ learned of the lead contamination, it sent an order to Brown asking her to require the cease and desist.
“The order that DEQ issued today is one that must come via a directive by the governor. The statute provides the governor the authority to issue this directive to DEQ,” said Leah Feldon, DEQ special advisor. “DEQ in turn issued [the cease and desist] order.”
Feldon described the order as “unprecedented.”
Brown said she may take more action against Bullseye if necessary, as DEQ continues to monitor the area for lead and other pollution.
Bullseye and DEQ have been under scrutiny since February for failing to prevent heavy metals air pollution in North and Southeast Portland.
The Oregon Health Authority notified the daycare center of the lead pollution Thursday afternoon, and is working with Multnomah County to offer a lead screening event 2-6 p.m. Friday at the Southeast Health Center. County officials said they would hold more screening events next week.
“I also want to point out that this finding is part of a pattern of unpredictable emissions of metals from this facility,” said OHA toxicologist David Farrer. “We’re concerned about this overall pattern of these emission events that keep coming.”
Editor’s note: Initial reports from Governor Kate Brown’s office misstated the severity of the lead levels. OPB regrets the error.