DEQ: High levels of heavy metals detected in Southeast Portland air

Night sky SE Portland

KATU's Joe Douglass has a follow-up report #LiveOnK2 here


PORTLAND, Ore. -- High levels of heavy metals have been detected in the air in Southeast Portland just four blocks from Cleveland High School, according to Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality.

The agency says it has detected cadmium and arsenic levels spiking in moss and air pollution detectors near Southeast 22nd and Powell.

The DEQ believes people's health could be affected and is calling on state agencies to investigate potential health risks.

DEQ, Oregon Health Authority and the Multnomah County Health Department are working to collect more data about the situation.

The agencies say they will keep the public updated on "this rapidly evolving situation."

Arsenic is used in pesticides, and cadmium can be found in electroplating, storage batteries and vapor lamps.

Inhaling these elements can be toxic, and overexposure can cause serious health problems. Call your doctor if you experience headaches, fatigue, drowsiness, nausea or fever.

Read more about what the emission means here.

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