We know that Oregon has high levels of naturally occurring arsenic. We also know that it is emitted by polluters: metal processing specifically contributes over 60% of the human-caused arsenic emissions according to DEQ source material for the Portland Air Toxics Solutions; it also comes from agricultural pesticides and soil dust, as well as combusted fuel from vehicles. We know it is classified as a KNOWN (Class A) human carcinogen. We know that arsenic is one of 15 air toxicants that the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality identified as being up to 10x over health-based benchmarks in the Portland Metro air shed. What we don’t know: How is this affecting my child? Are our children safe?
Posts Categorized: right to know
Air pollution problems are inherently local, the worst of them manifesting in “Toxic Hot Spots.” Yet this is specifically the area where the Clean Air Act and the state regulatory framework has failed to protect citizens. If direct citizen negotiation is still considered the most effective means of addressing local toxic hot spots, citizens need stronger public advocates to work on their behalf. Portland should look to the spirit of what the Houston Mayor did, which was to say, the city is the best entity to look out for the equitable protection of all its citizens and should be creative in its ideas of how to engage on the issue.
It was disturbing to read The Oregonian article last week about DEQ’s effort to assist a major industrial polluter in circumventing Federal emission laws: DEQ to help polluter seek federal break. This article is not about jobs vs the environment. It is about DEQ’s discretionary authority and the transparency of the process the agency uses… Read more »