Bullseye Glass Takes Step To Add Air Pollution Filters

Mar 4, 2016

The artistic glass maker at the center of Portland’s toxic air pollution controversy is taking steps to control its emissions.

Bullseye Glass submitted a notice Friday to Multnomah County that it intends to install a pollution filtration system called a baghouse. It’s meant to capture particulate that would otherwise escape from the company’s glass-melting furnace.

Bullseye stopped using cadmium and arsenic to make glass in February, after regulators said those heavy metals were being emitted into the air around the company’s plant in Southeast Portland.

Bullseye told the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality that it intends to start construction on the filtration system in mid-March and finish up April 5. Under current rules, the company isn't required to add pollution controls to its furnaces.

Cadmium and arsenic are known to increase the risk of cancer. The Oregon DEQ has said it is writing new rules that aim to better protect human health from toxic air pollution and anticipates additional funding for control efforts.

The detection of toxic emission hotspots around Bullseye and a second Portland glassmaker, Uroboros Glass in North Portland, came to public light after the U.S. Forest Service studied the accumulation of heavy metals in tree moss in Portland.

The disclosure has angered residents living near the plants — in part because the state DEQ had been warned of the possibility toxic emissions were coming from Bullseye as early as 1984.

DEQ head Dick Pedersen is resigning later this month, attributing the move to health issues. A state air quality manager, David Monro, is stepping down as well after accepting a job outside state government.

Seven Bullseye Glass neighbors are part of a class action lawsuit filed Thursday against the company.

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