The View-Master stereoscopic slide viewer has been a popular children's toy since the 1950s. For nearly half a century, View-Masters were made exclusively at a factory located on Hall Boulevard in Beaverton, Oregon. Throughout this period, an on-site supply well provided water for industrial purposes and for human consumption.
In March 1998, chemical analysis of the View-Master factory supply well revealed the presence of the degreasing agent trichloroethylene (TCE) at concentrations as high as 1,670 micrograms per liter (µg/L).
The View-Master site is not eligible for consideration for the Superfund program because the owners and past owners of the View-Master plant have signed a voluntary consent decree for remedial action administered by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. The Superfund program allows the federal government to pay for the rehabilitation of hazardous waste sites when potentially responsible parties cannot be made to pay.
In September of 2001, the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) entered into a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to determine both the need for and the feasibility of an epidemiological study of the View-Master site.