(CBS) — The noise can be deafening, and so far, more than 10,000 homeowners living around Midway Airport have gotten some relief from the sound insulation program.
It has cost on average $25,000 a home. But now, more than a dozen households have complained about a smell.
“It smells like burning plastic,” says Pam Zidarich.
That’s when, she says, the sun beats down on the window frames made of poly vinyl chloride.
She says the scent ranges in intensity from annoying to being able to take her breath away.
Another resident, Donica Bradford, says, “I threw up three times last week in the morning when we had the real hot days.”
The city has come out to some of the homes, confirmed the smell and offered to replace all of the windows.
On one condition.
Homeowners must sign a “settlement agreement” waiving any “claims for bodily injury arising from the acoustical windows installed.”
The affected home owners say no thanks.
“We’re not signing anything until we know what the problem is,” Richard Whitney says.
They fear the windows made of vinyl chloride — a known carcinogen, according to the feds — have been off gassing toxic chemicals into their homes for years.
“Is it a health risk? Thats what we want to know before we let them remove the windows,” Victoria Whitney says.
City officials say the problem windows confirmed so far were provided by Sound Solutions Windows and Doors, which shut down in 2014.
The city will replace those windows and test them.
Not good enough, say some homeowners
Zidarich wants tests on the air quality inside the homes, she says, “to determine what, if anything, we have been exposed to and what our health risks are going forward.”
Even though records show the city replaced windows here in 2015 after confirming a smell, it failed to warn other homeowners, residents say.
“They came in my home and told me they never had this issue before,” Bradford says.
Zidarich says that makes her mad – and suspicious.
A city spokesperson says the vast majority of homeowners that got the Sound Solutions windows have not complained and the city is checking on whether the problem may be with a bad batch.
Ronald Spielman, the owner of Sound Solutions, says it assembled the window frames purchased from other manufacturers and there is nothing wrong with them. He suspects the bad smell could be coming from caulk, glues or sealants used to install them or products used to clean them.