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News Releases
Extremely high lead levels close Salem multi-use commercial building - 03/24/17

**Resending to clarify lead level measurements and add information on blood lead testing.**

March 24, 2017

*Extremely high lead levels close Salem multi-use commercial building*
*State finds levels of the metal were significantly above federal standards, prompting building owner to voluntarily close for air sampling, clean-up*

PORTLAND, OR--A multi-use commercial building in Salem that once stored and finished batteries has closed for testing, inspection and clean-up after state regulators confirmed that lead dust levels on several interior surfaces were significantly above national health protection standards.

The owner of the building at 576 Patterson St. NW in Salem, which contains at least six businesses, agreed Thursday to voluntarily shutter the structure at the request of the Oregon Health Authority, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Oregon Occupational Safety & Health, effective immediately. The agencies had reviewed results of tests on dust wipe samples taken from more than 20 spots around the interior of the building and determined the lead dust levels that were found posed a public health threat to those visiting and working in the building.

The building owner moved immediately to fence the entire facility and personally contact all business owners in the building to inform them of the closure. Among the businesses in the building are a CrossFit gym with a small childcare facility; a home renovation firm; a baseball training facility with indoor batting cages; a catering business; a roller skating rink; and storage and office space. A microbrewery also is under construction in the building.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limits for lead levels at child care facilities are 40 micrograms per square foot on floors, 250 micrograms per square foot for windowsills and 400 micrograms per square foot for window troughs. Many of the samples collected in the 576 Patterson building had lead levels of many thousands of micrograms per square foot--one sample taken from the brewery floor was measured at 2,115.45 micrograms per square foot. A windowsill in the brewery was measured at 6,127.44 micrograms per square foot.

The highest sample in the building was taken from an electrical panel in a batting cage, found at 188,636 micrograms per square foot; and another on a girder above a roller skating rink was at 179,654 micrograms per square foot. Only one sample--on the CrossFit facility floor--was measured at less than 5 micrograms per square foot.

"Chronic, long-term exposure to lead is a serious concern. When we see levels of dangerous contaminants such as lead at extremely high levels that potentially endanger public health, our goal is to stop the source of the exposure," said Katrina Hedberg, MD, state health officer at the OHA Public Health Division. "This is why we encouraged the building's owner to close immediately, and fortunately, the owner acted without delay."

DEQ recommended the owners of the facility test for lead inside the old building on site, which the owners voluntarily agreed to in late February. The owners wanted to see what actions they would need to take for DEQ to lift deed restrictions in place on the site since the 1990s following cleanups to remove concrete flooring and soil contaminated with lead beneath it. In 2016 the owners entered the site into DEQ's Voluntary Cleanup Program, which provides oversight to property owners who want to clean up hazardous-substance sites in a voluntary, cooperative manner.

While the extent of the public's exposure to areas of the building with the highest lead dust levels and the precise degree of the health risks are not known, children are most at risk of long-term health effects because their bodies absorb more lead than adults' and their brains are still developing, according to EPA. Infants and young children are often exposed to more lead than adults because they put their hands and other objects contaminated with lead from dust or soil into their mouths. Even low levels of lead in the blood of children can result in behavior and learning problems, such as lower IQ and hyperactivity.

Hedberg says there is no evidence of human illness related to exposures at the facility.

DEQ plans to inspect the 576 Patterson building in the coming days, and Oregon OSHA will work with the building owner to conduct air monitoring during and after clean-up of the interior. OHA also is encouraging anyone who is concerned about past lead exposure to see their health care providers and get screened for elevated blood lead levels.

Polk County Public Health is offering free blood lead testing for children ages 1-18 and pregnant or breastfeeding women who may have been exposed to lead while inside the building. Testing will be offered March 28, 4-7 p.m., at Polk County's West Salem location, 1520 Plaza St. NW, Salem. Those interested can call 503-623-8175 for more information.

Other adults and parents of children younger than 1 should seek testing through their primary care provider or pediatrician. The testing, though important, is not considered an emergency and does not need to happen immediately.

For more information on lead exposure and health, visit http://www.healthoregon.org/lead.

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Public Health Advisory Board Accountability Metrics Subcommittee meets March 22 by webinar - 03/14/17

March 14, 2017

What: A public meeting of the Accountability Metrics Subcommittee of the Public Health Advisory Board

Agenda: Approve February meeting minutes; discuss progress toward developing health outcome metrics; review draft stakeholder survey.

When: Wednesday, March 22, 10-11 a.m. A 10-minute public comment period is scheduled at 10:45 a.m.; comments may be limited to three minutes.

Where: By webinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5150607625475124481. The public also can join by conference call at 877-873-8017, access code 767068#.

Oregon's Public Health Advisory Board provides guidance for Oregon's governmental public health system and oversees the implementation of public health modernization and Oregon's State Health Improvement Plan. The Accountability Metrics Subcommittee develops recommendations about public health quality measures for the board's consideration.

Program contact: Sara Beaudrault, 971-673-0432, sara.beaudrault@state.or.us

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Public Health Advisory Board meets March 16 in Portland - 03/09/17

March 9, 2017

What: The monthly meeting of the Public Health Advisory Board

Agenda: Adopt the Public Health Advisory Board work plan and charter for 2017; adopt guiding principles for public health collaboration with the health care delivery system; discuss outcomes from local Aligning Innovative Models for Health Improvements in Oregon (AIMHI) public health modernization meetings; adopt board health equity policy; provide input on the Oregon State Health Assessment Steering Committee and work plan; review the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant work plan.

When: Thursday, March 16, 2:30-5:15 p.m. The meeting is open to the public. A 15-minute public comment period is scheduled at 5:10 p.m.; comments are limited to three minutes.

Where: Portland State Office Building, Room 1A, 800 NE Oregon St., Portland. The public also may join the meeting by conference call at 877-873-8017, access code 767068.

Oregon's Public Health Advisory Board provides guidance for Oregon's governmental public health system and oversees the implementation of public health modernization and Oregon's State Health Improvement Plan.

More information is available on the board's website at http://public.health.oregon.gov/About/Pages/ophab.aspx.

Program contact: Cara Biddlecom, 971-673-2284, cara.m.biddlecom@state.or.us

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Oregon confirms two E. coli O157 cases linked to national outbreak caused by I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter, granola - 03/08/17

*EDITORS: Paul Cieslak, MD, of OHA is available for interviews today from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Portland State Office Building, 800 NE Oregon St., Room 1D (first floor). Call 971-246-9139 to set something up.*

March 8, 2017

The Oregon Health Authority has verified that two confirmed cases of E. coli O157 infection are part of a national outbreak linked to a brand of soynut butter, and epidemiologists are advising consumers to discard the product immediately.

A total of 16 cases in nine states have been identified as part of the outbreak, which Oregon and the other states have been investigating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fourteen (88 percent) of these cases were under the age of 18; five (33 percent) cases resulted in HUS, a type of kidney failure and potentially life-threatening complication. In addition to the two Oregon cases, there were four in Arizona; four in California; and one each in Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. The illnesses are associated with consumption of I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter and I.M. Granola, made by SoyNut Butter Co. of Glenview, Ill.

"People need to know that if they have this product in their pantries, they should immediately return it to the store where they bought it, or throw it out," said Paul Cieslak, MD, medical director for the Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention Section at the OHA Public Health Division. "If they ate the product and are experiencing symptoms of E. coli infection, they should see their health care provider right away."

The illnesses are caused by Shiga-toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O157. Some types of E. coli can cause diarrhea, while others cause urinary tract infections. Most people exposed to E. coli O157:H7 develop bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Between 5 percent and 10 percent of those diagnosed with STEC infection develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially life-threatening complication that can begin even as the diarrhea is improving. HUS can occur in people of any age but is most common in children younger than 5 and the elderly.

The Oregon cases were siblings, both younger than 18, living in Clackamas County. They were not hospitalized, did not develop HUS and are recovering well. OHA epidemiologists collected a sample of the product from their home, and tests showed the presence of E. coli O157.

SoyNut Butter Co. has issued a national recall of all I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter and I.M. Granola. The recall notice can be viewed on the U.S. Food & Drug Administration website, https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm545368.htm. According to the FDA, all "best-by" dates of all varieties of the products are affected. I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter has been packaged in 15-ounce plastic jars, individual portion cups, 4-pound plastic tubs and 45-pound pails. SoyNut Butter is available in Original Creamy, Chunky, Honey Creamy, Unsweetened and Chocolate. The granola has been packaged in individual serving packages, 12-ounce bags, 50-ounce bags and 25-pound bulk bags. I.M. Healthy Granola is available in Original, Apple, Blueberry, and Raisin and Cranberry.

OHA investigates about 200 cases of illness caused by STEC in Oregon each year. In 2016, 191 cases were identified, and so far 14 cases have been reported in 2017.

There are ways to protect yourself from STEC infections:
*Know your risk of food poisoning.*
-- People at higher risk for foodborne illness are pregnant women and newborns, children, older adults, and those with weak immune systems.
-- Cook meats well before eating. Undercooked hamburger and venison have caused many outbreaks of STEC infection.
-- Wash vegetables before eating; they can be contaminated with STEC in the fields in which they are grown.
-- Drink only pasteurized milk and juices.
*Consult your health care provider if you think you are ill with E. coli infection.*
*Practice proper hygiene, especially good hand washing.*
-- Wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food.
-- Wash your hands after contact with animals or their environments (at farms, petting zoos, fairs, even your own backyard).
-- Always wash your hands before preparing and feeding bottles or foods to an infant, before touching an infant's mouth, and before touching pacifiers or other things that go into an infant's mouth.
-- Keep all objects that enter infants' mouths (pacifiers, teethers) clean.
-- If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. These alcohol-based products can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but they are not a substitute for washing with soap and running water.

For more information, visit the CDC website about the outbreak: https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2017/O157H7-03-17/index.html

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OHA Retail Marijuana Scientific Advisory Committee meets March 9 - 03/03/17

March 3, 2017

What: A public meeting of the Oregon Health Authority's Retail Marijuana Scientific Advisory Committee

Agenda: Review purpose, agenda; review Public Health Division approved statements and recommendations in light of new National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine report, and CDC Marijuana and Public Health website; future topics; next steps; public comment

When: Thursday, March 9, 3-5 p.m. The public comment period begins at 4:45 p.m. All comments are limited to two minutes, or can be submitted to marijuana.science@state.or.us.

Where: Portland State Office Building, Room 1B, 800 NE Oregon St., Portland

Why: The Oregon Health Authority's Retail Marijuana Scientific Advisory Committee, based at the Public Health Division, provides scientific input to inform public health recommendations related to retail marijuana in Oregon. The committee is examining adverse health effects of marijuana use; and impacts of time, place and manner of retail sale of potentially addictive substances.

# # #

Advisory committee website: https://public.health.oregon.gov/PreventionWellness/marijuana/Pages/Retail-Marijuana-Scientific-Advisory-Committee.aspx

Oregon State Hospital Advisory Board to meet March 9 in Salem - 03/02/17

March 2, 2017

Program contact: Jacee Vangestel, 503-945-2852, jacee.m.vangestel@state.or.us

What: A public meeting of the Oregon State Hospital Advisory Board

When: Thursday, March 9, 1-5 p.m.

Where: Oregon State Hospital, 2600 Center Street NE, Salem, in the Callen Conference Room. The public also can attend via toll-free conference line at 1-888-278-0296, participant code 4294893.

Details: The Oregon State Hospital Advisory Board advises the superintendent, Oregon Health Authority Director and legislators on issues related to the safety, security and care of patients. Members include consumers, providers, advocates, legislators, community members, consumer families and OSH union members.

The meeting site is accessible to people with disabilities. To request alternate formats, sign language interpreters, physical accessibility, or other reasonable accommodations, call the Oregon Health Authority at 1-800-282-8096 at least 48 hours before the meeting.

For more information, see the board's website at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/osh/Pages/advisory-board.aspx.

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Public comment sought on new 24-hour screening levels for air toxics - 03/01/17

March 1, 2017

*Review process moves to next phase after evaluation by outside toxicologists*

PORTLAND, Ore.--The Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality are seeking public comment on an updated list of concentration guidelines for assessing immediate risks from certain air toxics.

The public comment period for the new short-term guideline concentrations (SGCs)--referred to as "24-hour screening levels"--for 15 air toxics is the next phase in re-evaluating these concentration limits. The agencies developed the proposed guidelines with consultation and rigorous technical review by toxicologists inside and outside the agencies, between October 2016 and January 2017.

The SGCs will replace and expand upon the provisional 24-hour screening levels for metals that OHA issued in March 2016. The expanded list of 15 air toxics goes beyond metals discovered in air emissions from companies in Portland, and includes additional air toxics of potential short-term concern around the state, including naphthalene and hydrogen sulfide.

"It's very important to the agencies that short-term guideline concentrations are based on the best available science," said David Farrer, Ph.D., toxicologist with the OHA Public Health Division's Environmental Public Health Section. "This robust scientific review of screening levels will help our agencies accurately interpret ambient air monitoring data to ensure protection of public health."

The "Proposed Short-Term Guideline Concentrations" are posted at the Cleaner Air Oregon website at http://cleanerair.oregon.gov/. Public comment on the document will be open through March 31, 2017. Comments can be submitted to ehap.info@state.or.us.

OHA developed the original provisional set of 24-hour screening levels in March 2016 in response to intense community concern about emissions from art glass manufacturers Bullseye and Uroboros. The 2016 values used the most stringent health-protective values agency toxicologists could find from peers in other states at the time.

External scientific peers with expertise in toxicology have reviewed the proposed updated SGCs, and their comments have been incorporated in the draft now being presented for public comment.

The current list of SGCs includes arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, total chromium, chromium +3, chromium +6--also known as hexavalent chromium--lead, manganese, nickel and selenium. The proposed new list includes these metals and adds acetone, hydrogen sulfide, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), naphthalene and styrene.

The new list excludes cobalt, since air monitoring data showed it never exceeded the old 24-hour screening levels and external scientific peer reviewers expressed concerns about the strength of the science supporting a short-term toxicity value for cobalt.

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Oregon Health Policy Board to meet March 7 in Portland at OHSU - 02/28/17

February 28, 2017

Contact: Jeff Scroggin, 541-999-6983, jeffrey.scroggin@state.or.us (meeting information or accommodations)

IIncludes legislative update, continued discussions of board protocols and committee work* planning

What: The monthly meeting of the Oregon Health Policy Board

When: Tuesday, March 7, 8:30 a.m. to noon

Where: OHSU Center for Health & Healing, 3303 SW Bond Ave., third floor, room 4. The meeting will also be available via live web-stream. A link to the live-stream and a recording of the meeting will be posted on the board's meeting page at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/OHPB/Pages/2017-OHPB-Meetings.aspx. Members of the public can also call in to listen at 1-888-808-6929, participant code 915042#.

Agenda: Welcome; public testimony; director's report; 2017 legislative session update; OHPB protocols agreement; OHPB committees work planning

For more information on the meeting, visit the board's meeting page at http://www.oregon.gov/oha/OHPB/Pages/2017-OHPB-Meetings.aspx.

The meeting site is accessible to people with disabilities. To request alternate formats, sign language interpreters, physical accessibility, or other reasonable accommodations, call the Oregon Health Authority at 1-800-282-8096 at least 48 hours before the meeting.

# # #

Public hearing scheduled for Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant plan - 02/27/17

February 27, 2017

What: The Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division will hold a hearing to take public comments on its proposal for the use of funds from the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant.

Agenda: Review of Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant proposal for October 2017 through September 2018. Public comment will be taken. The draft proposal will be posted on the division's website at http://bit.ly/2lYUEYx on Thursday, March 2.

When: Wednesday, March 8, 2-2:30 p.m.

Where: Portland State Office Building, Room 1-C, 800 NE Oregon Street, Portland

The meeting site is accessible to people with disabilities. To request alternate formats, sign language interpreters, physical accessibility, or other reasonable accommodations, call the Oregon Health Authority at 1-800-282-8096 at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.

Program contact: Danna Drum, 503-957-8869, danna.k.drum@state.or.us

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CDC Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant site: http://www.cdc.gov/phhsblockgrant/

Oregon Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant: http://bit.ly/2lYUEYx