Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Elected Officials Put More Pressure on Chicago Department of Aviation

Madigan, Quinn launch online petition

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

The Midway area’s elected officials this week continued to apply pressure to the Chicago Department of Aviation to provide relief for  homeowners whose government-supplied windows and doors are emitting foul—and possibly toxic—fumes.

Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-22nd) and 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn launched an online petition “demanding that the city replace residents’ windows and storm doors at any time, even if the 10-year warranty has expired.”

Quinn said he hopes residents will sign the online petition in advance of another joint meeting of the City Council Committees on Finance and Aviation, expected to occur downtown next month.

Here is a link to the petition:

The petition directly addresses what appears to be the Chicago Department of Aviation’s ongoing refusal to provide replacement doors and windows for Residential Sound Insulation Program homeowners whose doors and windows were installed more than 10 years ago—and are therefore out of warranty.

Several aldermen, including Quinn, have publicly requested that CDA ensure replacement of all faulty doors and windows, regardless of warranty.

Other requests from aldermen, including one that CDA conduct a mass-mailing to all 10,000-plus RSIP households to alert them to the ongoing situation, have not been responded to.

A CDA promise to respond to a request for an update on the number of RSIP households with confirmed foul odors has gone unfulfilled.

In addition to the online petition, Quinn joined three aldermanic colleagues—Edward M. Burke (14th), Michael R. Zalewski (23rd) and Raymond Lopez (15th)—in amending the City Code to enable the Department of Aviation to conduct testing on all RSIP windows and doors that have been found to be emitting odors. Further, the new language mandates that CDA test a minimum of 10 percent of all RSIP households where windows and doors are found to emit odors.

Currently, CDA is testing the indoor air quality of nine Midway area homes. The new ordinance, if passed, would require that number to rise as the number of confirmed cases rises.

“The language of this ordinance memorializes what we have asked the Aviation Department to do,” Quinn said.

The move was praised by Chrysler Village homeowner Pam Zidarich, who said she welcomes “any significant move designed to make the Chicago Department of Aviation stop turning a deaf ear to us and get serious about its promise of transparency. We should not have to hold their feet to the fire; but they’re making us do it, so we will.”

Zidarich is the founder of the non-profit Midway Defective Window Recipients, a group of Southwest Sides homeowners who are concerned about the RSIP windows and doors they have received.

MDWR recently held its first public meeting, and plans a second for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 11 at West Lawn Park, 4233 W. 65th St. The public is invited.

The defective windows and doors have been provided to homeowners near Midway and O’Hare in recent years through the Chicago Department of Aviation’s Residential Sound Insulation Program, an initiative designed to improve the quality of life for people living near the airports by reducing jet-engine noise in their homes.

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 and fall.

While the large majority of RSIP homeowners have not voiced complaints, a small minority—about 250 households--report that their 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.

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