Lead levels drop, but hexavalent chromium persists in SE Portland

Cleaner Air Oregon News

Lead levels drop, but hexavalent chromium persists in SE Portland

Slight increase in cadmium still below 24-hour screening levels

Levels of lead monitored for the period ending May 11 show that levels in the air decreased following spikes detected in monitors on May 9 and 10 that were likely connected to Bullseye Glass Co. in southeast Portland.

Results of monitoring on May 11 showed lead levels have returned to those seen in previous months of monitoring, and are well below the 24-hour screening level—the short-term concentration above which immediate negative health effects could occur.

Hexavalent chromium levels are still averaging above 12-month health goals, known as ambient benchmark concentrations. Investigators at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality continue to seek the source of these emissions.

Levels of cadmium in the air at the Children’s Creative Learning Center (CCLC) in southeast Portland showed an increase on three days—May 6, 9 and 10—during the monitoring period, but did not exceed the 24-hour screening level. The increase caused the average cadmium level to go above the long-term health-based goals. State officials will continue to watch these levels.

“We are investigating several aspects of how Bullseye operates, including its production processes, maintenance procedures and raw material handling, to better understand what the cause of these cadmium and hexavalent chromium readings may be,” said Keith Johnson, manager with DEQ’s Northwest Region.