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Portland Firm Tops Toxic Polluter List

Pete Springer/OPB

A recently released University of Massachusetts study ranked the Portland-based Precision Castparts Corporation as the most toxic air polluter in the U.S. The company manufactures cast metal parts at 150 plants throughout the world, including several in Oregon, and is one of two Fortune 500 companies based in Oregon. The high toxicity of Precision’s pollution is largely the result of heavy metal pollutants, in particular, chromium, cobalt and nickel.

The list — compiled by economics professor Michael Ash using Environmental Protection Agency data — accounts for the volume and toxicity of pollution at all company plants across the country, as well as the health risks to the surrounding populations. Ash said of chromium, cobalt and nickel, “Those three together represent 99 percent of the estimated risk to human health.”

The company is currently evaluating the findings of the list. Ash said that emission levels at Precision’s plants are likely within legal EPA-set limits.

Do you live in an area adjacent to a high-polluting plant? Do you consider toxic pollution to local populations to be a bigger concern than climate change?

air quality pollution toxic waste

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