Extremely high lead levels found in Salem building

Tests found thousands of micrograms per square foot

A multi-purpose building in Salem closed on March 24, 2017 after extremely high levels of lead dust were found. (Google Maps)
A multi-purpose building in Salem closed on March 24, 2017 after extremely high levels of lead dust were found. (Google Maps)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A multi-use building in Salem is closed after extremely high levels of lead dust were found in it, the Oregon Health Authority said.

The building at 576 NW Patterson Street in Salem is now home to at least 6 businesses, but was formerly used to store finished batteries. The building houses a CrossFit gym with childcare, a home renovation firm, a baseball training facility, a catering business, a roller rink and offices. There is also a brewery under construction there.

Test results from most than 20 spots inside the building showed lead dust levels that were significantly above national health standards, according to the Oregon Health Authority. Many samples had thousands of micrograms per square foot but EPA safety limits range from 40 to 400 micrograms per square foot for child care facilities.

Results from the brewery floor and windowsill had 2,115.45 and 6,127.44 micrograms, respectively. The highest result was 188,636 micrograms in the batting cage area.

The building’s owner voluntarily closed at the request of OHA, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Oregon Occupational Safety and Health. The DEQ will do more testing and work with the owner on clean up.

Dr. Katrina Hedberg with OHA said there is no evidence that any people have become sick due to lead exposure in the building, but Polk County Public Health is offering free blood tests to children under 18 and breastfeeding women who may have been exposed. That testing will be available March 28, 4-7 p.m. at 1520 NW Plaza Street in Salem.

More information on lead exposure