Portland’s Toxic Air Problem

Portland’s air is dirtier than we thought. A study conducted by researchers at the U.S. Forest Service revealed dangerously high levels of heavy metals in Portland, sparking an investigation into the sources and causing regulators and officials to question why the pollution was left unchecked for so long.

State health officials say air quality has improved near a southeast Portland glass-making company that’s been at the center of pollution concerns.

The Oregon Health Authority says levels of airborne heavy metals near Bullseye Glass are 98 percent lower than when they were first measured last year.

Bullseye officials say they’ve installed filters on 12 of their furnaces and will install another six by the end of the month.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has removed two of its four air quality monitors near the facility. One of the remaining monitors is stationed at a nearby day care center.

State regulators announced in February they discovered hazardous levels of cadmium and arsenic in the air near Bullseye Glass, prompting the company to suspend use of the metals.