PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Public School District is testing for dangerous metals in the air at several of its schools, after the DEQ found arsenic and cadmium in the air at a monitoring station near SE 22nd Ave. and Powell Blvd.

Exposure to those metals can have serious health consequences, including cancer.

Air monitoring stations have been set up at Cleveland, Abernathy, Hosford, Grout and Winterhaven.

The monitors will collect data for eight hours then be sent for analysis. The district expects to have results next week. Until then, the district considers the schools safe for kids and staff.

PPS reports some parents kept their children home from school Friday and other kids were wearing masks, but the likely source of the toxins, Bullseye Glass, has stopped using the metals in its manufacturing.

The district and the Multnomah County Health Department will hold a public meeting Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. at Cleveland High School to provide more information.

Health Effects

Many people who live and work in the area are concerned about the health risks associated with exposure to cadmium and arsenic. But a simple urine test can determine how much and what kind of metals are in a person’s system.

Multiple state agencies are investigating possible health risks related to high levels of cadmium and arsenic in the air. (KOIN)

The founder of Beaverton’s ZRT Laboratory, David Zava, says chemicals can have toxic effects on the human body. Problems like heart, kidney and liver damage. But Zava says certain types of food can counteract the negative effects of metals.

“We think of the top four the CDC says are bad news — arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead — there are ways our bodies, if we’re getting enough other elements, that counter the negative effect of the bad elements.”

Zava says a urine test will determine if a person’s exposure to metal is higher than normal.