- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 24, 2018

BRIGHTON, Mich. (AP) - State officials are expanding air testing to more than 100 eastern Michigan homes after finding a toxic chemical that has leached into five houses.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will test more than 60 homes in Brighton for trichloroethylene. The testing is in addition to the 40 already planned in the neighborhood. The toxic chemical was found in the air of five homes near a decades-old manufacturing site, but officials are concerned more homes could be affected.

Inhaling trichloroethylene can cause cancer, harm unborn babies and lead to other serious health issues, coma and death, according to health officials.

The first toxic chemical plume in Brighton originated from Detroit Gaskets, a now-defunct company that polluted soil and groundwater with manufacturing chemicals from the late 1940s to the early 1980s.

But officials have now opened another investigation into potentially toxic air in a second neighborhood. The source of the second plume is believed to come from the former Haigh Manufacturing property, which released the toxin into the ground in the 1960s and 1970s.

The expanded testing is intended to determine if the plumes have spread.

Officials have been monitoring the plumes as a water issue since the 1990s. But last year was the first time officials conducted air testing related to the plumes.

The Environmental Quality Department has about $250,000 in state funds to collect air and soil samples and install air purifying systems in homes with high chemical levels.

Air purifying units have mitigated the chemical in the five affected homes, said Rebecca Taylor, a department official.

Carol Miller lives near the contaminated Haigh Manufacturing site. Her neighborhood is one of the areas being tested.

“I want to sell my house but I can’t because I don’t want to sell it to a family that might have little kids,” Miller said. “I can’t in good conscience do that.”

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