DEQ asks Oregon for $1.5 million to address toxic air pollution - KPTV - FOX 12

DEQ asks Oregon for $1.5 million to address toxic air pollution concerns

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Tests found high levels of cadmium and arsenic near Bullseye Glass in southeast Portland (Photo: KPTV) Tests found high levels of cadmium and arsenic near Bullseye Glass in southeast Portland (Photo: KPTV)
At a legislative committee meeting Tuesday, the DEQ asked the state for $1.5 million to address the issue. (Photo: Laura Rillos/KPTV) At a legislative committee meeting Tuesday, the DEQ asked the state for $1.5 million to address the issue. (Photo: Laura Rillos/KPTV)
SALEM, OR (KPTV) -

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality said at a legislative committee meeting Tuesday that it's asking for $1.5 million to respond to concerns about high levels of heavy metals in the air in two Portland neighborhoods.

Earlier this month, tests found high levels of cadmium and arsenic in moss and in the air near Southeast 22nd Avenue and Powell Boulevard.

The DEQ said it believes the pollution came from nearby Bullseye Glass Company. Tests also found high levels of cadmium near Uroboros Glass in North Portland.

Bullseye and Uroboros have since ceased using those particular chemicals, though Uroboros says it hasn't used arsenic for some years.

In response to concerns from neighbors, the DEQ is asking the state for $1.5 million.

The money will pay for monitoring of "hot spots" where high levels of heavy metals have been found, as well as for changes to the statewide permitting process that will better take into account the health impact of emissions.

DEQ is also working to compile a list of facilities statewide that use heavy metals.

After Tuesday's meeting of the House Committee on Energy and Environment, a group calling itself Neighbors for Clean Air delivered a petition with more than 4,000 signature to Gov. Kate Brown, calling for immediate action on the issue.

"The stakeholder groups have been dominated by industry representatives to protect polluters, not people, and I think that is starting to change," said Mary Peveto, president of Neighbors for Clean Air.

The DEQ said its inventory of companies using heavy metals should be completed by the end of February, while the rule-making process for statewide permits would begin in March.

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