DEQ confirms second straight day of unsafe lead exposure levels from Bullseye Glass

Cleaner Air Oregon News

Portland, OR—The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has determined that on May 10 Bullseye Glass Co. in southeast Portland created a second consecutive day of potentially dangerous lead exposure in its manufacturing process. The data was recorded at the air safety monitor adjacent to the Children’s Creative Learning Center in SE Portland and the lead level recorded was four and half times the 24 hour screening level for public safety. DEQ’s review of production records indicated a substantial increase in the use of lead compounds in their manufacturing process during that time period.

Yesterday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown directed DEQ to issue a cease-and-desist order against the glass company after the same air monitor deployed near Bullseye measured high levels of lead on May 9. The Governor’s directive was in response to a request from DEQ and Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

“We have said for months that we would act if monitors showed that 24 hour screening levels were exceeded, and this situation with vulnerable children in close proximity clearly called for urgency,” said Lynne Saxton, Director of OHA. “This reinforces how important it is to take immediate action to protect public health if emissions become dangerous.”

The order against Bullseye requires the company to “cease-and-desist” the use of lead—as well as arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, all chromium compounds, cobalt, manganese, nickel and selenium in any uncontrolled furnace—through May 29. Officials at DEQ and OHA will assess the next round of data and notify Bullseye of the steps to be taken to resolve this health threat.

The air monitor, one of four that DEQ deployed in southeast Portland around the glass manufacturer, and located at Children’s Creative Learning Center (CCLC) southeast of Bullseye, measured lead at four and a half times the Oregon 24-hour screening level. The Oregon 24-hour screening level is the short-term concentration below which immediate health effects are not expected to occur. Results from air quality monitors are available to state officials approximately 8-10 days after collection. The three other monitoring sites around Bullseye did not exceed the 24-hour screening level on May 9 or 10. Data for May 11 and 12 at the daycare show that lead concentrations were under the 24-hour screening level.

“We need to make sure the localized public health issues are included in our statewide regulatory system for industrial air toxics, and that’s why Cleaner Air Oregon is so important,” said Pete Shepherd, Interim Director of DEQ.