Toxic Sources In Lane County

Acetaldehyde

Arsenic

Benzene

Formaldehyde

Naphthalene

Toxic Sources In Lane County

Acetaldehyde

Arsenic

Benzene

Formaldehyde

Naphthalene

Air Pollutants & Air Toxics

Air Toxics

What are Air Toxics?

Air Toxics are pollutants that, at sufficient concentrations and exposures, are known or suspected to cause cancer, other serious health problems, or damage to the environment. There are nine air toxic monitors across Oregon. LRAPA operates two air toxics monitoring sites in Lane County – one in west Eugene near the intersection of HWY99 and Roosevelt Blvd., and one at the Willamette Activity Center in Oakridge. The pollutants of greatest concern are those released in large enough quantities to create a risk to human health, or in areas where many people are likely to be exposed.

Air Toxics exist in three types:

  • Gases
  • Liquid Aerosols
  • Particles

Where do Air Toxics come from?

Most air toxics come from human-made sources such as vehicles (cars, buses, ships, planes), industrial facilities (factories, refineries, power plants), as well as small businesses and residences, including residential wood burning. Natural sources such as forest fires and volcanic eruptions also release air toxics and can affect air quality at local and regional scales. Some air toxics are carried into our area from sources outside our County – such as smoke from wildfires.

How are Air Toxics measured?

Each monitoring site utilizes multiple pieces of equipment which require significant resources to install, calibrate, and operate. Our air toxics sites monitor ambient air by taking samples deposited on or into media. Some of these samples are deposited onto filters, some are captured into stainless steel canisters. These samples are all shipped to a lab operated by Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) where they are analyzed. The data from this analysis is then subjected to a quality control review before being published. This is a slow and expensive process and the reason that more widespread Air Toxics monitoring is not feasible with current technology. Air Toxics data is generally released annually, since the levels that we see are mostly associated with long term exposure risks.

Which Air Toxics are of concern in Lane County?

Air Toxics posing the most concern for public health in Lane County are acetaldehyde, arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde, naphthalene. LRAPA also measures and analyzes for many other air toxics but the previously mentioned toxics have historically been measured at levels above suggested toxicity reference values.

What are Toxicity Reference Values (TRV)?

A TRV is the amount of the chemical in air that may cause health problems. A TRV value of 1 or less is an acceptable exposure concentration, or dose of a contaminant of potential concern, that is not expected to cause an unacceptable level of effect on human health.

TRVs are currently used in Cleaner Air Oregon and other programs across the country. A TRV depends on the type of health effect (cancer or noncancer) and whether exposure is for a long or short period of time (chronic or acute).

A chemical can have up to three different TRVs.

  • Noncancer acute
  • Noncancer chronic
  • Cancer

As of 2020, 259 chemicals have TRVs. Oregon TRVs were established in 2018. In Cleaner Air Oregon, TRVs are used to calculate risk based concentrations (RBCs) by integrating information about chemical exposure. LRAPA uses RBCs to evaluate health risks and determine whether the risk is above a level requiring a facility in the Cleaner Air Oregon program to take action.

2018 analysis of Oregon’s 10 Most Emitted Air Toxics

DEQ analyzed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2018 Toxics Release Inventory data of estimated toxic chemical emissions to identify the ten most emitted chemicals in Oregon in 2018 and the facilities that are the largest sources of those emissions. View the analysis here.

Toxics of Concern in Lane County

Air Toxics Sources in Lane County

Air Toxics Sources in Lane County

What are the different source categories?

Sources are group and categorized in different ways, below are definitions for each type:

  • Biogenic: Biogenic emissions are released by natural and cultivated vegetation. These emissions are not typically subject to emission-control strategies.
  • Fire: Fire emission sources are released by wildfires in and outside of Oregon, as well as from human actives like outdoor burning, or prescribed fires.
  • Point: Point emission sources are any single identifiable source of pollution from which pollutants are discharged, such as a factory smokestack, vent, or other equivalent opening.
  • Non-Point: Non-point emissions are sources of air pollution that, by themselves, generally have lower emissions than “major sources” of air pollution (like factories). Non-point sources can include smaller facilities, such as gas stations. In air quality modeling, non-point sources are modeled in two dimensions (length and width), as compared to point sources modeled at a single point location.
  • On-Road: On-road emissions are from mobile sources, which include a wide variety of vehicles, engines, and equipment. On-road sources specifically refer to “on roadway” or highway sources which are specific to vehicles used on roads for transportation of passengers or freight.
  • Non-Road: Non-road emissions are from mobile sources, which include a wide variety of vehicles, engines, and equipment. Non-road sources specifically refer to equipment used for construction, agriculture, recreation, and many other purposes.
  • Residential Wood: Residential wood emissions are from wood burning that takes place primarily in woodstoves and fireplaces. Residential wood burning occurs either as a necessary source of heat or for aesthetics.
  • Secondary: Secondary emissions are formed in the lower atmosphere by chemical reactions. Two examples are ozone and secondary organic aerosol (haze). Secondary emissions are harder to control because they have different ways of synthesizing and form naturally in the environment to create problems like smog.

Acetaldehyde in Lane County

Acetaldehyde in Lane County
Acetaldehyde in Lane County

What is it?

Acetaldehyde is a colorless, flammable liquid that evaporates easily into the air. It is a product of incomplete combustion of fuels and wood and is also used in the manufacture of other chemicals and products including perfumes and dyes.

Where does it come from?

The dominant source of acetaldehyde in the Eugene area is secondary formation. It is also present in smoke from residential wood stoves and fireplaces, and gasoline powered engines.

What are the health effects?

Animal studies have shown that acetaldehyde caused nasal and laryngeal tumors. EPA considers acetaldehyde to be a probable (Class B2) human carcinogen. The Oregon toxicity reference value concentration for acetaldehyde is 0.45 μg/m3. Monitoring shows that the Eugene area is above this benchmark.

Arsenic in Lane County

Air Toxics Arsenic
Air Toxics Arsenic

What is it?

Pure inorganic Arsenic is a naturally occurring gray-colored metal found throughout the environment. Inorganic arsenic is usually found combined with other elements such as oxygen, chlorine and sulfur. Arsenic in plants and animals combines with carbon and hydrogen. This is called organic arsenic and is generally less toxic than inorganic arsenic. Most arsenic compounds have no odor and dissolve in water.

Where does it come from?

Sources of arsenic are both human caused and natural. Our soils in the Pacific Northwest are naturally high in arsenic because of their volcanic origins. In Oregon, metal processing, agricultural pesticides, and soil dust are sources of arsenic. Oil and natural gas combustion and on-road and non-road engines are other sources of arsenic.

What are the health effects?

Breathing inorganic arsenic over a long period of time is associated with irritation of the skin and mucous membranes, and is strongly associated with lung cancer. EPA considers arsenic a known (Class A) human carcinogen. The Oregon toxicity reference value concentration for arsenic is 0.00023 ug/m3. Monitoring shows that the Eugene area is above this benchmark.

Benzene in Lane County

Air Toxics Benzene
Air Toxics Benzene

What is it?

Benzene is a colorless liquid with a sweet odor. It evaporates into the air quickly and dissolves slightly in water. It is highly flammable and is formed from both natural processes and human activities.

Where does it come from?

Benzene is found in natural background concentrations, emissions from cars and trucks, wood smoke, evaporation from gasoline, and industrial solvents. Tobacco smoke contains benzene.

What are the health effects?

Long-term inhalation of benzene causes blood disorders. Benzene specifically affects bone marrow, the tissues that produce blood cells. Benzene may cause anemia (i.e., an insufficient number of healthy red blood cells), excessive bleeding, damage to the immune system and genetic damage. Increased incidence of leukemia (cancer of the tissues that form white blood cells) has been observed in people occupationally exposed to benzene. EPA has classified benzene as a known (Class A) human carcinogen. The Oregon toxicity reference value concentration for benzene is 0.13 μg/m3. Monitoring shows that the Eugene area is above this benchmark.

Formaldehyde in Lane County

Air Toxics Formaldehyde
Air Toxics Formaldehyde

What is it?

Formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a pungent, suffocating odor at room temperature. It is produced by human activities and occurs naturally.

Where does it come from?

Formaldehyde comes from secondary formation, incomplete fuel combustion from on and off-road engines, construction equipment, diesel fuel combustion, railroads, as well as from wood burning. It is used as a concrete and plaster additive, as a disinfectant, and as a wood preservative. The highest levels of airborne formaldehyde have been detected in indoor air, where it is released from various consumer products including paneling and carpets. Tobacco smoke is another important source of formaldehyde.

What are the health effects?

Breathing formaldehyde is associated with respiratory problems and eye, nose, and throat irritation. Limited human studies have reported associations between work-related exposure to formaldehyde and increased incidence of lung and nasal cancer. EPA considers formaldehyde to be a probable (Class B1) human carcinogen and is currently proposing revisions to its toxicity values. The Oregon toxicity reference value concentration for formaldehyde is 0.17 μg/m3. Monitoring shows that the Eugene area is above this benchmark.

Naphthalene in Lane County

Air Toxics Naphthalene
Air Toxics Naphthalene

What is it?

Naphthalene is a white solid that evaporates easily. Fuels such as petroleum and coal contain naphthalene. It is also called white tar, and tar camphor, and has been used in mothballs and moth flakes. Burning tobacco or wood produces naphthalene. It has a strong, distinct odor. The major commercial use of naphthalene is in the manufacture of polyvinylchloride (PVC) plastics. Its major consumer use is in moth repellents.

Where does it come from?

Naphthalene is released to the air from the burning of diesel or fuel oil and from the use of mothballs. Some naphthalene is also produced by residential wood combustion. Naphthalene is present in creosote that is used in local wood preservation facility operations.

What are the health effects?

Chronic exposure of workers and rodents to naphthalene has been reported to cause cataracts and damage to the retina. As of 1998, available data was not, in EPA’s opinion, adequate to establish a causal association between exposure to naphthalene and cancer in humans. It was classified as a possible (Group C) carcinogen at that time and remains so at present. The Oregon toxicity reference value concentration for naphthalene is 0.029 μg/m3. Monitoring shows that the Eugene area is above this benchmark.

At the request of west Eugene Residents, LRAPA requested the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) provide a public health interpretation of naphthalene concentrations measured at LRAPA’s air toxics monitoring site located at HWY 99 and Elmira Rd. OHA provided the letter to LRAPA in February of 2022 and can be read by clicking here.

LRAPA monitors air quality throughout Lane County with eight regulatory-grade monitors and over 90 commercial-grade air sensors. Air Quality Index values are updated hourly.

Find the current air quality, look up the closest monitor to you, and learn more about the Air Quality Index (AQI) on the Current Air Quality Page.

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Clean air is an important component of a healthy community. LRAPA accepts, records, and investigates air quality complaints throughout Lane County.

LRAPA responds to complaints submitted during business hours. Complaints received outside business hours will be follow-up on during the next business day.

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Purple Air: Air Quality MonitorLRAPA maintains eight regulatory-grade air monitoring stations and over 90 commercial-grade particulate matter sensors throughout Lane County. These air monitors collect air samples and report the data from their respective locations.

Learn about the types of air pollution LRAPA monitors for, as well as the type of equipment used by the agency on the air monitoring webpage.

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Air toxics are those pollutants that cause or may cause cancer or other serious health effects. LRAPA operates two of the nine air toxics monitors in Oregon.

Learn more about the air toxic pollutants of concern in Lane County by visiting the Pollutants and Toxics webpage.

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LRAPA regulates the burning of wood and yard debris, known as “outdoor burning,” in Lane County. LRAPA also enforces home wood heating – such as fireplaces and wood stoves – opacity ordinances for the cities of Eugene, Springfield and Oakridge. Seasonal and daily restrictions can exist for both forms of burning.
Check to see if there are any active burning curtailments in effect on the burning restrictions webpage.
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Burning wood in fireplaces and wood stoves for heat is a common practice in Oregon. However, wood burning creates particulate matter, which is Lane County’s most common form of pollution, and can dramatically degrade air quality during periods of air stagnation.

LRAPA issues daily green, yellow, and red burn advisories from October 1 through May 31, based on air quality conditions. These advisories permit, limit, or restrict the use of fireplaces and wood stoves.

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Outdoor burning is the disposal of woody yard material by burning it. Burning rules vary throughout Lane County depending on location, size of property, weather forecast, and fire danger conditions. LRAPA rules also limit the type and quantity of debris which can be burned.

Learn more about the varying rules and check the status of the burning season on the outdoor burning webpage

 

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Home Wood Heating - Enjoying an outdoor firepitRecreational fires are the burning of wood in recreational use areas, such as parks, recreational campsites, campgrounds, and on private property. LRAPA rules allow for recreational fires - however recreational fires are prohibited on yellow and red home wood heating advisory days.

Learn more about prohibited materials from being burned in recreational fires, and LRAPA’s daily home wood heating advisory by visiting the recreational fires webpage.

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LRAPA is responsible for issuing air permits to commercial and industrial operations with emissions above a certain threshold.

Check to see if your business needs a permit by following our 5-step guide on our Permitting Overview webpage.

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Cleaner Air Oregon is a state-wide program designed to regulate emissions of Hazardous Air Pollutants. New facilities beginning operation, or current facilities called into the program by LRAPA, are required to quantify all air toxic pollutants emitted from the facility. Then a computer model determines how emitted pollutants move across Lane County, to understand who is exposed to the pollutants and in what amounts. With that information a health risk assessment is conducted of that exposure. 

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LRAPA is responsible for issuing air permits to commercial and industrial operations with emissions above certain thresholds. LRAPA's air permits have operational requirements that follow Federal, State, and Local regulations that are designed to minimize emissions from businesses. The most complex permits are federal Title V operational permits which LRAPA issues and administers.

Learn more about Title V permits, their requirements, and connect to Title V permits in Lane County by visiting our Title V webpage.

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LRAPA is responsible for issuing air permits to commercial and industrial operations with emissions above a certain threshold. LRAPA's air permits have operational requirements that follow Federal, State, and Local regulations that are designed to minimize emissions from businesses.

LRAPA issues Air Contaminant Discharge Permits (ACDP) in Lane County. These permits are categorized into different types based on complexity.

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Oregon's Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program requires reporting of greenhouse gas emissions data and related information from major sources including large stationary sources, and liquid fuel, natural gas, propane, and electricity suppliers.

Learn more about reporting requirements and deadlines for each source category by visiting our Greenhouse Gases webpage.

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LRAPA has varying forms, documents, and resources that are required or helpful when doing business with the agency. Our forms are posted in relevant and applicable locations throughout our website, as well as in a single repository.

Find all forms offered by LRAPA by visiting our Forms & Resources webpage.

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Asbestos is the name of a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals that are heat-resistant, strong and extremely durable. Asbestos has historically been used in over 4,000 building products because of these properties.

Asbestos can cause lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. There is no safe level of exposure to friable asbestos.

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Losing a home to fire is traumatic, both physically and emotionally. During such a crisis, it is easy not to consider the hazardous nature of ash and debris on your property. It’s important to understand hazards to your immediate and long-term health exist in that ash and debris.

Learn more about cleanup efforts and resources for those who lost their home in the 2020 wildfires by visiting our Wildfire Cleanup & Asbestos webpage.

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Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause cancer and related diseases, for this reason the testing, removal, and disposal of asbestos containing materials is carefully regulated.

Learn more about the air regulation of asbestos in Lane County and find appliable forms on our Form & Resources page.

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LRAPA regularly solicits public comment on proposed agency actions such as rule changes, proposed air permits, and the agency’s annual budget. LRAPA also hosts monthly Board of Director and Citizen Advisory Committee meetings.

Learn more about these public comment window and public meetings on our News, Notices & Public Calendar webpage.

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Clean Air Act PublicationsLRAPA regularly publishes public information on air quality issues such, as new releases, reports, and fact sheets. LRAPA also posts monthly Director reports, monthly Enforcement reports, and yearly annual reports.

Find these reports and other informational resources on our Publications, Reports, and Fact Sheets webpage.

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LRAPA regularly issues updates and notices on the work conducted by the agency. Join email lists to receive updates on topics of interest, such as public notices, job openings, issued press releases, burning curtailments, and more!

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The physical environment is a crucial component of any individual’s health and well-being.  Every community needs access to safe air, land and water.  LRAPA has curated together a collation of topics commonly asked about by the community to provide information, important details, and connect interested community members with resources.

Explore the many topics of information on our Community Center webpage.

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A Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) is an environmentally beneficial project funded by a company or individual to mitigate part of a civil penalty assessed by LRAPA.  SEPs are ways a business can choose to benefit the community in which they’re based by funding a SEP.

Learn more about LRAPA’s approved SEPs and potentially submit a project for review and possible approval on LRAPA’s Supplemental Environmental Projects webpage.

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LRAPA does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, or marital status in administration of its programs or activities and LRAPA does not retaliate against any individual because they have exercised their rights to participate in, or oppose actions protected by, 40 CFR Parts 5 and 7 or for the purpose of interfering with such rights. 

Learn more about LRAPA’s nondiscrimination policies and procedures by visiting our Non-Discrimination Policy webpage.

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Wildfire CleanupWildfire smoke is responsible for creating the worst air quality in Lane County history. As climate change drives a longer and more intense wildfire season, it’s important to familiarize yourself with air quality resources and guidelines around wildfire smoke.

Learn more about wildfire smoke in lane county and how to protect indoor air quality during smoke intrusions on our Wildfire Smoke webpage.

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Prescribed Burning is the process of planning and starting a controlled fire to achieve a specific goal. Prescribed burns are conducted on days that are dry enough to minimize smoke production and windy enough to take smoke out of the Willamette Valley Smoke-Sensitive Receptor Area (SSRA), yet not be so strong as to create fire-control problems.

Learn more about prescribed burns in Lane County and the groups who conduct local burns on our Prescribed Burns webpage.

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Indoor Air Quality refers to the quality of air within and around buildings and structures, specifically as it relates to the health and comfort of those inside. Air quality impacts our health and wellbeing.  Understating and controlling common pollutants can reduce your exposure and risk associated with indoor air pollution.

Learn more about the common sources of indoor air pollution and the methods to protect air quality on our Indoor Air Quality webpage.

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LRAPA is the local air authority responsible for monitoring Lane County’s air and administering programs that protect and improve air quality.

LRAPA was founded in 1968 as an intergovernmental agreement between the cities of Springfield and Eugene. Today’s intergovernmental agreement includes Lane County and the cities of Cottage Grove, Eugene, Oakridge, and Springfield.

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LRAPA receives direction and oversight from three independent committees who represent the diverse interests of Lane County’s communities. The Board of Directors, the Citizen Advisory Committee, and the Budget Committee. These committees are filled by volunteers in Lane County and their meetings are open to the public.

Learn more about these committees, see meeting minutes, and upcoming agendas on our Public Oversight webpage.

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LRAPA was established under Oregon Statute 449 (now 468.A) and approved by the Oregon Sanitary Authority (now Environmental Quality Commission), effective January 1, 1968, to exercise the functions vested by statute within the boundaries of Lane County. The agency holds and enforces LRAPA’s rules in Lane County.

Learn more about LRAPA’s rules and read them on our Rules & Regulations webpage.
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LRAPA is committed to providing full access to all public records in accordance with Oregon’s Public Records Law and agency regulations. A request for public records is a public record itself and is subject to disclosure under the law.

Learn more about LRAPA’s records request policy and submit a request on our Records Request webpage.
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LRAPA is a small local agency with competitive pay and generous benefits.

Learn more about current career opportunities with LRAPA by visiting LRAPA's Careers webpage.

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LRAPA is currently staffed by 19 full-time employees.

View current staff and their contact information by visiting our Staff Directory webpage.

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