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An air monitor set up near Precision Castparts Corp’s’ plants in Southeast Portland and Milwaukie showed unhealthy levels of hexavalent chromium, nickel and arsenic.


The data, released Friday by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Oregon Health Authority, are the first results from a 35-day monitoring effort near Southeast 45th Avenue and Harney Drive, just northwest of the twin Precision Castparts plants.

Levels showed arsenic at more than four times health-based targets for the metal, nickel at almost twice the health-based target and hexavalent chromium as above the target.

There is no danger of an immediate public health threat, according to the Oregon Health Authority, based on short-term exposure to the heavy metals.

Precision Castparts, whose pattern of pollution violations was the subject of a two-part series in the Portland Tribune this spring, informed DEQ that it has installed additional pollution control devices as of May 16, including four air filters and one baghouse. Those supplement 32 existing baghouses and two filters.

Precision Castparts received the new monitoring information from the state agencies and is evaluating the data, said Ryan Frank, a spokesman for the company, in an email.

"We note that the arsenic concentration falls within the urban background level ,which is consistent with the fact that PCC Structurals does not use arsenic in its metal alloys," Frank stated. "We will discuss the hexavalent chromium and nickel concentrations at our community meeting on May 25, after we have had an opportunity to review the detailed underlying data.

Data from two other air monitors placed near Precision Castparts’ plants will be released in mid-June.

For ongoing information about government efforts to address Portland’s toxic air problems: cleanerairoregon.org

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@SteveLaw/Trib

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