PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Families are testing their blood for lead Friday after health officials found a huge spike in lead levels in the air in Southeast Portland.
The air monitoring station in Southeast Portland near Bullseye Glass Co. showed lead levels 4 times the 24-hour benchmark. These results showed an immediate, short-term health risk.
Thursday night Governor Kate Brown issued a cease and desist order to Bullseye Glass forcing them to stop using several elements that may be causing spikes in lead levels in their area for 10 days.
Results from testing on Friday showed a second-straight say of unsafe lead exposure levels, according to the DEQ. The results come from an air monitor near the Children’s Creative Learning Center.
Bullseye released a statement to KOIN 6 News stating that they have one bag house filter and are planning to install another in August.
“These new restrictions are a substantial impact to our business, which is making it extremely difficult for Bullseye Glass to move forward,” said Jim Jones, vice president of Bullseye Glass.
The Oregon Health Authority said this is particularly concerning due to Bullseye’s proximity to a daycare center.
The Southeast Health Center in Multnomah County offered free blood tests on Friday afternoon to people in the neighborhood who are worried they may get sick.
Nikki Meyers lives near Bullseye Glass, so she took her 11-month-old son, Luke, in for testing because they’ve been feeling sick during the past few months.
“I’m perplexed,” Meyers said. “I don’t think a 10 day cease and desist order is long enough for them to get rid of all this crap in the air really.”
Alexi Miller lives steps away from Bullseye Glass, so he went to get the blood test. Luckily, he’s fine, but hearing about Kate Brown’s order worried him.
“My biggest concern obviously is the health of myself and my family,” Miller said. “Nobody wants to live next to somewhere that’s emitting toxic air.”
Multnomah County Environmental Health Director Jae Douglas is frustrated that this is happening again. “We didn’t anticipate in enough time to put controls in place to make sure there aren’t emissions coming out of the stacks that could deposit potentially harmful metals in the community,” Douglas said.
Health officials say it’s most important for pregnant women and children under 5 who live, work or go to daycare within a half mile of Bullseye Glass. The Multnomah County health department said more testing will be available in the future, and it can also be done by a primary care physician.