DEQ working to identify source of high hexavalent chromium level - KPTV - FOX 12

DEQ working to identify source of high hexavalent chromium levels in SE Portland

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Bullseye Glass in SE Portland (Photo: KPTV) Bullseye Glass in SE Portland (Photo: KPTV)

DEQ is working to identify the source of heightened levels of the heavy metal hexavalent chromium in the air in southeast Portland.

The agency reported Friday that analysis of 50 days of air monitoring data found that hexavalent chromium concentrations averaged above "health-based targets."

The target concentration is .08 nanograms per cubic meter of air, but the recent 50-day average ranged between .086 nanograms and .28 nanograms across four monitoring locations surrounding Bullseye Glass near Southeast 22nd and Powell Boulevard.

DEQ said, however, that Bullseye Glass did not use chromium in glass production during that testing period.

The company stopped using it after preliminary air quality monitoring data from DEQ showed high levels of heavy metals around the plant earlier this year.

DEQ later reported that air and soil testing near Bullseye Glass, as well as Uroboros in north Portland, posed no immediate public health risk

DEQ is now investigating other potential sources in the area.

DEQ said the air results released Friday do not indicate the need for any special precautions by neighbors, "but they have prompted action on the part of state agencies to identify the sources."

Investigators also reported Friday that Bullseye is believed to be the source of a jump in levels of selenium in southeast Portland.

DEQ said Bullseye increased the use of the metal starting April 6. Selenium is not believed to cause or increase risk of cancer, but at very high concentrations – 200,000 nanograms per cubic meter of air - inhaled selenium can cause respiratory irritation, bronchitis, difficulty breathing and stomach pain.

Toxicologists said the levels recorded in southeast Portland were just above 460 nanograms. The previous high recorded for the area was 271 nanograms in October 2015.

Selenium levels remain below 24-hour screening levels and do not pose an urgent or immediate health threat, according to DEQ.

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