Multnomah County to Offer Free Lead Tests in SE Portland Friday, May 20, 2 to 6 p.m.

May 20, 2016

Multnomah County is offering free lead testing today, Friday, May 20, in response to high levels of airborne lead detected in southeast Portland on May 9. State  officials have linked the lead to emissions from Bullseye Glass Co. near SE 22nd and Powell.

Health Department officials recommend pregnant women and children under 5 who live, work or attend childcare within a half mile of Bullseye Glass be tested. Testing will also be offered to anyone who is concerned.

Families can get free lead testing beginning today from 2 p.m.- 6 p.m. at the Southeast Health Center, 3653 SE 34th Ave in Portland. The test is a simple fingerprick blood test with results available within three minutes.

Additional screening dates will be scheduled next week and concerned residents can also obtain testing through their own health care provider.

On May 19, Multnomah County learned that a Department of Environmental Quality air monitor south of Bullseye detected lead levels at more than three times the state’s health benchmark.

“Lead has been known as a threat to the health of the public for hundreds of years. We are particularly concerned about the impact of lead exposure on children,'' said Tricia Tillman, Multnomah County Public Health Director. “It is unacceptable that our community is being subjected to this exposure in 2016. We want families to know as quickly as possible whether any of these emissions reached their children.’’

Jae Douglas, director of Environmental Health, said today’s free event is just the first of a series that will be offered. Multnomah County’s Lead Poisoning Prevention team conducts nearly 80 such screenings at schools, libraries and other locations throughout the year.

If a child’s screening test finds higher levels of lead, a conventional blood test is recommended to confirm.. The county then works with families to identify and eliminate sources of lead exposure. Most investigations in Multnomah County find the exposure was caused by lead paint in older homes.

Lead damages many parts of the body, said Dr. Paul Lewis, Multnomah County Health Officer. Pregnant women and young children are especially vulnerable because of how lead harms the developing brain.  

“We sincerely hope that the exposure from Bullseye Glass is a rare event that did not endanger our residents,’’  said Dr.Paul Lewis, Multnomah County Health Officer. “To avoid living with fear and uncertainty, we recommend that pregnant women and children under 5 who live, work, or attend school within a half mile of the factory be screened.’’

Questions? Call the Leadline at 503-988-4000 or email

Find more upcoming lead testing events is at /health/lead-poisoning-prevention.

Oregon Health Authority's guide to Protecting Your Family from Lead.