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New report of toxic vapors concern Mountain View residents

March 12, 2013 11:53:55 PM PDT
Silicon Valley's toxic secret is haunting a new neighborhood. Cancer-causing vapors are seeping up into a neighborhood once thought to be safe.

Toxic vapor is showing up inside houses on Evandale Avenue, just across Highway 101 from NASA Ames. Residents on Tuesday received a mailer from the Environmental Protection Agency warning them of the possibility of vapor intrusion.

Dozens of people packed City Hall for a special meeting to find out more about what is in the air they're breathing in parts of Mountain View.

"There's some new discoveries, plumes, contamination has shown up in unexpected areas," Center for Public Environmental Oversight spokesperson Lenny Siegel said.

For decades, people living near the old Intel building and Fairchild semiconductor factory knew a toxic plume had contaminated some of their ground water with trichloroethylene (TCE).

TCE can cause cancer and birth defects

Since the 80s, the EPA has been monitoring and remediating the contaminate. But in November, random testing found high levels of TCE just west of the plume's designated border, along Whisman Road, on Google property, and down Evandale Avenue.

"If it moves and it's not contained, it's a concern," resident Keith Frazier said.

Shivraj Asthana lives in a new development on Evandale. He wants his home tested for TCE.

"They say it's carcinogenic, with every route to be exposed to and that's a concern," he said.

"We should not have to get cancer to have clean indoor air," resident Jane Horton said.

Horton has lived in the toxic plume's path for decades. She says before the EPA set up an air cleaning system in her home, the toxicity level was five times higher than normal. She came to Tuesday night's meeting to fight for her neighbors.

"I believe everybody is entitled to live over uncontaminated ground water," she said.

People who live in the area can call the EPA and have their air tested. Most of the time, the contamination can be removed through an air filtration system.


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