CHICAGO (CBS) – The city of Chicago installed special soundproof windows on homes near O’Hare and Midway airports. Then people began complaining about a noxious smell.
Now, CBS 2 Investigator Pam Zekman reports warranties may be extended and more homes could be tested.
“I don’t believe you or your department — flat out. I don’t believe you are listening to residents,” said Ald. Raymond Lopez.
Fireworks were directed at the city’s aviation commissioner, Ginger Evans, over the agency’s slow response to increased complaints about smells, such as burning plastic, coming from sound-insulated windows made of polyvinyl chloride.
“They’re associated with chemicals that are, at the very least, extremely hazardous to people,” Lopez said.
Evans said Monday action will be taken immediately if air testing currently underway confirms there is a health hazard.
“We have conducted more than 400 inspections of homes near both Midway and O’Hare to date, confirming odors in 249 cases,” she said.
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“62.5 percent of inspected homes — that is significant, and that is scary as hell,” said Pam Zidarich, who lives near Midway.
Of those, 76 were installed over ten years ago, and the city previously said it would not replace them because the warranty from the now closed company expired.
However, as CBS 2 previously disclosed, the city knew about the issue in 2015 and failed to warn others.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the purpose of this ordinance is to simply right a wrong,” Ald. Marty Quinn said.
“Does it have to get to the point where a casually-related death needs to occur for them to take us seriously?” another Midway resident, Anne Prevenas, said.
The proposed ordinances require the city to cover the costs of replacing the windows installed by the closed company up to 20 years ago, and increase the number of homes to be air tested if the complaints increase.
Those measures still have to be approved by the full City Council.