North Portland Air Pollution

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North Portland

Read North/Northeast Portland’s Air Pollution Report Here. You will find a map and narrative with facts about industrial facilities and diesel truck pollution. Learn what we can do to improve air quality.

What we know so far about North Portland 

It turns out we have very little information about the quality of our air and soil in Portland, but our knowledge is growing in light of recent concerns around air pollution. Authorities have linked Uroboros Glass Factory (2139 N. Kerby Ave.) as the likely source of unsafe levels of cadmium in our air. Note: Uroboros Glass Factory announced it will close its doors in September, 2016. 

Cadmium can increase the risk of lung cancer when inhaled. Cadmium can also damage kidneys when inhaled or swallowed. 2015 data from the U.S. Forest Service found high concentrations of cadmium surrounding Uroboros that are above what is considered safe. State officials link these findings to the glass factory’s emissions.

Arsenic can increase the risk of lung, bladder and skin cancers. Uroboros used arsenic several years ago. It is unclear exactly when the glass factory stopped using the heavy metal, and no elevated levels of arsenic were found in recent air monitoring.

Chromium-6 can increase the risk of certain lung cancers, after chronic, low-level exposure. Inhaling chromium-6 at very high levels can cause acute respiratory and skin irritation. Uroboros has used chromium-6 in its operations to make colored glass.

Information was collected using Oregon’s State Cancer Registry and census data. Rates of lung and bladder cancer were generally consistent with expected rates in the identified Census tracts in North Portland during 1999–2013. For the years 1999-2003, there was a small, statistically significant increase in the rate of bladder cancer in one area of North Portland, which merits more environmental assessment. Data cannot be used to infer causality between individual cases of cancer and an environmental source. Read study results here and limitations here.

What Is Being Done

State and federal regulations around air quality have been lacking and are currently being overhauled in Oregon to ensure better air quality standards, monitoring, and testing of emissions. The Oregon Health Authority will be conducting future Public Health Assessments to evaluate long-term cancer and health risks, and the Department of Environmental Quality will be conducting ongoing air monitoring.

Options for People Who Live, Work, Play, or Learn Near Uroboros: 1973-present

You can talk to you doctor about urine testing for cadmium. Arsenic and chromium are quickly eliminated from the body and urine testing for these is not likely to be helpful in assessment of chronic exposure. If you currently live, work, or go to school within a half mile from Uroboros, you can call 971-673-3308 to determine if you qualify for free testing.  The Oregon Health Plan will cover urine cadmium testing for members who live in the highest-risk areas. Most private insurance will cover the cost of cadmium testing for people who live near Uroboros. The Oregon Health Authority does not recommend testing for everyone at this time.

Read more here: http://saferair.oregon.gov/Pages/index.aspx

If you would like to speak with an attorney because you are concerned about Uroboros, you can contact Dan Matthew Preusch or Dan Mensher with Keller Rohrback lawfirm. Toll free: 800.776.6044, Email: info@kellerrohrback.com