Five toxic chemicals have tested positive at the former Avionics Specialties, Inc. site just west of
Among those toxins is tetrachloroethylene, also known as PCE, which has been linked in medical studies to bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, bone marrow tumors and increased risk of spontaneous abortion. Known for its sharp, sweet odor, the compound is used in dry cleaning and metal degreasing, according to government websites.
Other chemicals found at the plant site include methyl chloroform, trichloroethene, ethylidene dichloride and vinylidene chloride, the
"We only started the investigation, so we don't even know the entire universe of contaminants that may be present,"
The investigation is expected to take 18 months, McCartney said. Field work is expected to end in August, McCartney said.
The toxins first were identified as part of standard closure activities when Avionics shut down the plant in 2010, McCartney said. The
Avionics Specialties, now known as
While all five substances are considered toxic, only tetrachloroethylene is potentially carcinogenic.
McCartney said her agency will not know the extent of the risk until the investigation is complete, but nearby homeowners already are concerned.
"We've informed them of what's going on and they're as anxious to get these results as we are," McCartney said.
"I still don't know exactly what they found," Hatfield said. "There've been some rumors, but all I know is that it's carcinogenic and I don't even know that to be accurate."
Homes in the community were fit with carbon filters in 2007, but Hatfield said neighbors still were unsure about the level of threat. The
"All of us out here have water wells. It's obvious that someone needs to verify this," Hatfield said. "Most the people here are intelligent people, they would recognize the sincerity of being truthful and we could address any issues known. Addressing the unknown is the greatest fear."
Officials said the troubles at the Avionics site are unrelated to another point of contention for Hatfield and neighbors in
Airport Executive Director
"We are aware of the situation," Crawford said, "and we are monitoring it closely."
"I'm certainly looking forward to hear more from the environmental folks about what they're planning to do," Mallek said. "I would think there should be zero tolerance for something like this. They need to clean it up."
The plant sits on 12 acres adjacent to the southwest corner of the airport. The facility was built in 1954 by
Last year, the
The vacant plant, several other empty buildings and a chemical storage garage sit on the site, according to the
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