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Portland Company Named Nation’s Top Polluter

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(photo credit: AFP/Getty Images)

(photo credit: AFP/Getty Images)

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(CBS Seattle) — The Portland, Oregon-based company Precision Castparts Corp. has just been named the nation’s top industrial air polluter, according to The Oregonian.

Precision has plants all over the world which produce aircraft and engine parts; almost every aircraft has parts made by Precision. It’s annual sales exceed $8 billion, according to The Oregonian.

The study, done by the University of Massachusetts, examined factors like pounds of pollutants released, toxicity and how much of the population is exposed.

One-third of Precision’s score comes from Portland-area factories, The Oregonian reported. Those factories emit cobalt and cobalt compounds, high levels of which can cause respiratory problems, sometimes as severe as lung hemorrhaging, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Precision’s plants in other states release toxic substances like nickel, chromium and chromium compounds like hexavalent chromium. Exposure to these substances

The company ranked at No. 3 in last year’s ranking and came in at No. 21 in 2010. According to The Oregonian, Precision may be rising in the rankings partly because it’s acquiring other companies that have industrial plants.

Right behind Precision were DuPont and Biomet. According to the report, DuPont puts out considerably more pollutants than Precision; 10,940,000 pounds and 110,000 pounds respectively. But, Precision’s “toxic score” could be higher because of the larger surrounding population, boosting its overall score. All of the data on emissions used in the study is submitted by the companies themselves.

One of the study’s authors says people shouldn’t panic. The study is meant to start a dialogue with the companies about how to limit the release of pollutants and the amount of people exposed is based solely on a model.

Precision did not release a statement regarding the report. A company vice president told The Oregonian Monday, “We are in the process of evaluating the study.”

Other companies at the top of the polluters list included ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical Co. and General Electric. Read the full report here.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Oregonian contributed to this report.)

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