Portland homeowner welcomes national focus on air quality issues - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland homeowner welcomes national focus on air quality issues

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Homeowners in areas of Portland testing high in heavy metals welcome the attention they hope environmental activist Erin Brockovich will bring. (KPTV) Homeowners in areas of Portland testing high in heavy metals welcome the attention they hope environmental activist Erin Brockovich will bring. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

For weeks, Portland residents have been concerned about the levels heavy metals coming from local glass manufactures.

On Friday, well-known environmental activist Erin Brockovich announced she is investigating claims by Portlanders possibly harmed by toxic pollution.

Bullseye Glass and Uroboros Glass have stopped using arsenic and cadmium in their manufacturing processes, but people who live near those businesses say they have essentially been forced to make big lifestyle changes.

Bill Crawford is all about home grown, from rain barrels, to his chicken coop and his variety of garden boxes.

He's committed to organic living at his southeast Portland home, but a recent suggestion from the Oregon Health Authority has him on edge.

“This would be a good time to be planting, unfortunately we’re not sure whether or not we will be doing that,” Crawford said. “Rarely have they made an announcement like don’t eat your home grown produce. That’s pretty terrifying.”

Crawford said his fear goes beyond the garden, as the recent heavy metal scare in the air has him concerned for his kid's health too.

“Right now I’m waiting to get results back for arsenic and cadmium,” he explained. “We tested them for lead and thank God that came back nicely. But still that’s two heavy metals and I fear for the worst.”

RELATED LINK | Oregon DEQ Metal Emissions Page

Stories like Crawford's are why Brockovich has now set her sights on Portland, teaming up with a New York lawyer for a case.

In a statement sent to Fox 12, Brockovich expressed her shock in Portland’s current situation.

“I can’t believe that in this day and age companies would knowingly allow their dangerous chemicals to pollute the air. It’s outrageous. We have known for decades the harm these toxic chemicals are capable of causing.”

Crawford welcomes the well-known figure’s involvement with the issue, but after six years in his home, he also fears for what this means for his livelihood.

“More allies is always great and someone like Erin Brockovich’s work has been amazing, and I’m very happy about that,” he said. “I have no idea what this is going to do to my property value for my house that I’ve put a lot of emotional and financial investment into. Can’t be good for it."

Crawford knows companies like Bullseye Glass won’t just disappear, and he says he doesn't want them to go, but just change their practices.

“I want these companies to be able to stay here and thrive,” he said. “I want them to do the right thing, just clean up their act and stay where they are. That would be a perfect world scenario for me.”

For now, Crawford says he has no choice but to just wait.

The DEQ is in the process of testing soil around Uroboros Glass and Bullseye Glass, and hope to get the results back soon.

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