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DEQ says third heavy metal found in air

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KOIN 6 NEWS - Representatives of the Oregon Department of Enironmental Quality and the Oregon Health Health Authority at a Friday press conference about cadmium, chromium, and arsenic.Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality told reporters Friday afternoon that chromium, a third heavy metal linked to glass manufacturing, has been found in Portland's air.

During an afternoon press conference, DEQ officials said two glass manufacturers have agreed to stop using cadmium and arsenic in their manufacturing processes in response to a request by the state.

Bullseye Glass Co. in Southeast Portland and Uroboros in North Portland said they would stop using the chemicals that have drifted into nearby neighborhoods.

For a KOIN News 6 story, go to www.koin.com/2016/02/12/2-portland-glass-companies-stop-using-cadmium-arsenic-chromium/

The announcement followed weeks of controversy about whether DEQ has adequately protected residents against potentially dangerous pollution in their neighborhoods.

According to DEQ officials, Bullseye Glass has agreed to suspend use of hexavalent chromium, and agreed to stop using cadmium and arsenic. Uroboros agreed to suspend its use of all chromium compounds and cadmium, and does not use arsenic.

DEQ officials say it is working with each company to formalize agreements as soon as possible. “DEQ appreciates the willingness of these companies to eliminate the use of all chromium compounds, cadmium and arsenic,” DEQ Director Dick Pedersen said before the press conference.

According to DEQ, to guide the agency’s metals sampling, it requested Material Safety Data Sheets from each company regarding the use of all metal compounds in their operations the week of Feb. 8.

A preliminary analysis of the MSDS sheets indicated both companies were using compounds containing hexavalent chromium as a raw ingredient. Based on DEQ’s knowledge of the emission levels of cadmium and arsenic, it was determined there were likely to be other metals emissions.

DEQ is compiling a list of facilities in Oregon permitted to emit chromium compounds. DEQ is researching other facilities that may be using chromium compounds that are not otherwise regulated for use.

For more information on the effects of chromium 6, visit the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry webpage at www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=10&po=10

OHA has set up a phone line for residents concerned about the health effects of metals emissions: 971-673-0185, and an email address, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Multnomah County Health Department and Portland Public Schools will host a second community open house with DEQ and OHA at Tubman Middle School from 5 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 18.

For more information about the investigation and to get updates, visit:

www.deq.state.or.us/nwr/metalsemissions.htm

www.healthoregon.org/metalsemissions

>www.multco.us

KOIN 6 News contributed to this story.