ROSKAM: PUBLIC HEALTH AT RISK
Congressman Peter J. Roskam (R-IL) today called upon the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a thorough health risk study to examine the risks of exposure to toxic substances in the proposed demolition of hundreds of Bensenville homes in accordance with the O'Hare Modernization Program (OMP).
In a letter sent to the Acting Regional Administrator of the FAA's Great Lakes Region and the Regional Administrator for the EPA's Chicagoland office, Roskam expressed his concern for the heath and safety of his constituents in Bensenville. Roskam highlighted the lack of knowledge about the potential public health threats of the proposed demolition activity to the 160 families remaining in the Acquisition Area.
"Caution and careful deliberation, not speed, should mark this process," remarked Roskam. "For the safety of all the families in Bensenville, I urge all parties to exercise due diligence in protecting the health and welfare of my constituents."
Specifically, Roskam called on the FAA and EPA to conduct a thorough study that would: (1) test the entire Acquisition Area for locations and quantities of toxic or hazardous substances; (2) develop a risk assessment to determine if such substances would be present in concentrations above levels recommended by public health professionals; and, (3) develop emission controls for identified toxic and hazardous substances which will ensure that the concentrations of those substances are maintained below the levels recommended by public health professionals.
According to public health experts retained by the Village of Bensenville, unknown quantities of a wide variety of toxic materials are likely to be present in the structures themselves, in the soil, and in the groundwater of the parcels facing the proposed demolition. Further, these experts have concluded that Chicago's proposed plans create a significant potential endangerment of the health and safety of Bensenville residents and their families.
"While the FAA has performed environmental impact studies on the runway expansion itself, no study has been performed to ensure the health and safety of the 160 families remaining in the Acquisition Area," continued Roskam. "Here the FAA has a great opportunity to step up and join me in protecting the health and welfare of my constituents. I will continue to stand resolutely with the families of Bensenville strongly opposing any action to move forward on the proposed demolition of the parcels in Bensenville until the health and safety of Bensenville residents and their families receives adequate protection as recommended by public health experts."