Glassmaker Bullseye Glass Co. has come under scrutiny again by state officials after elevated levels of a metal known to cause respiratory problems was detected at a nearby day care.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, there was a jump in the amount of selenium detected in a 24-hour screening period Sept. 6 near the Children’s Creative Learning Center in Southeast Portland, just down the street from Bullseye.
“The 24-hour screening level is the level above which immediate negative health effects could occur,” health officials said in a news release.
The elevated levels prompted officials to conduct an inspection of Bullseye Glass and get its agreement to limit its use of selenium.
OHA and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality are also requiring the glass company to look into why a newly installed baghouse didn’t stop the Sept. 6 emission.
Health officials said short-term exposure to selenium can cause coughing, bronchitis and difficulty breathing. Short-term exposure at the level detected near the day care hasn’t been shown to cause cancer or developmental problems in children or babies, officials said.
Officials also noted that selenium also has health benefits and is an essential nutrient. But high levels of the metal can be toxic.
The announcement Friday was just the latest in a string of requirements or cease-and-desist orders the state has placed on the company after high levels of cadmium and arsenic were detected around the company early this year.
The company has said the requirements will force it to lay off employees or cut their hours.