By Tim Hadac
Southwest Chicago Post
Midway area homeowners who say they have lost faith in the Chicago Department of Aviation’s efforts to offer substantial relief relating to the ongoing concern over government-supplied windows and doors emitting fumes that may be toxic, are taking matters into their own hands.
Chrysler Village homeowner Pam Zidarich, one of four RSIP homeowners initially profiled by the Southwest News-Herald in early June, has announced that she and others who have lost faith in CDA are forming a not-for-profit organization.
Dubbed Midway Defective Window Recipients, the new
group’s aim is to unite RSIP homeowners in a drive to raise funds to hire an independent environmental health firm to conduct their own testing “to get to the bottom of what these windows and doors have put into the air we breathe, and what effect that has on our health.”
“We’ve given the Department of Aviation every chance to do the right thing and take corrective action to test the air in our homes, find out what we’ve been breathing for the last few years and take corrective action,” Zidarich said. “In response, they have delayed, they have failed to return phone calls, they have thrown legal roadblocks in our way, they have even lied to us; and then they hired a company to do the testing, and a company vice president admitted publicly that his company has never done this specific type of testing.”
CDA officials have repeatedly said they share the homeowners’ concerns and are working diligently through a multi-layered process to learn exactly what is in the fumes—and to replace RSIP windows as quickly as they reasonably can.
The MDWR’s first meeting is set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23 at West Lawn Park, 4233 W. 65th St. All
homeowners with defective and possibly poisonous RSIP windows and doors are welcome to attend. Pastries, snacks and light refreshments will be served.
Zidarich thanked 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn for his role in making the event happen.
After initially refusing to test the air inside RSIP homes, CDA reversed course under pressure from 23rd Ward Ald. Michael R. Zalewski and other local elected leaders.
CDA now says it will test the air in 10 percent of the 92 Southwest Side homes where they have confirmed noxious odors coming from RSIP windows. In all, they have received complaints from about 225 local homeowners.
“I’m not going to cave,” Zidarich said of CDA’s existing offer for in-home air quality testing. “I’m not going to have the testing done by the City of Chicago, because I don’t trust it one iota—and nobody else here should, either. They are hiding what they know.”
Homeowner concern over RSIP windows and doors was first reported exclusively by the Southwest News-Herald in early June, with a number of front-page follow-ups as the story developed over the summer.
Some of the windows and doors are emitting foul-smelling fumes. Homeowners, some of whom have been diagnosed with cancer in recent years, are highly concerned that the fumes may be toxic—causing or at least exacerbating their serious illness, and possibly having long-term, negative effects on the health of their children.
It appears that years of exposure to heat and sunlight may be breaking down the materials used in the manufacture of the windows and frames. One of those materials is polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a known carcinogen banned in some countries outside the U.S.