Precision Castparts ranked top industrial air polluter

Precision Castparts ranked top industrial air polluter

Portland-based Precision Castparts is the nation's top industrial air polluter for toxicity and population exposure, a new study says.

The ranking combines measures of pounds released with toxicity of pollutants and population exposure to yield a score for each company. One-third of Precision's score comes from three Portland-area factories that emit cobalt and cobalt compounds. Acute exposure to high levels of cobalt, a natural element found throughout the environment, results in respiratory effects, such as a significant decrease in ventilatory function, congestion, edema and hemorrhage of the lung, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Ranked solely on pounds of pollutants released in 2010, Precision drops low in the list of the nation's top 100 air polluters. But an author of the University of Massachusetts study says the company's high score raises questions that members of the public should ask companies and regulators.

Read more at OregonLive.com.