State Calls Franklin Chemical Testing 'Questionable' At Forum

Aug 5, 2018

Rare child cancers in Franklin are getting more attention as a result of chemical testing organized by the nonprofit the Edison Wetlands Association. But state agencies expressed doubt at the validity of that testing at a community listening session on Friday. 

The Edison Wetlands Association oversaw testing at 14 homes in Franklin. Indiana Department of Environmental Management Commissioner Bruno Pigott says two of the homes had high levels of the cancer-causing chemicals PCE and TCE — and some of that could have been from cleaning supplies.

“Those sample results are questionable, which is why we would be happy to — if we knew the residential addresses — go to those two places and resample,” says Pigott.

Stacie Davidson is with the group If It Was Your Child, which suspects contamination from the old Amphenol industrial site may be causing child cancers. Her group argues cleaning products could not have caused such high levels. Davidson also says the EWA tests were meant as a starting point to encourage further sampling.

“People have said that we’ve just said, it’s one test and we’re going off of that — and that’s absolutely not true. This was a baseline,” she says.

IDEM and the Indiana State Department of Health say they don’t see the need for testing in more homes or schools at this time.

READ MORE: School To Start After Chemical Testing At Franklin Elementary Schools

Though not all of the results are in, the Environmental Protection Agency says samples of the outside air at the old Amphenol industrial site haven’t shown high levels of cancer-causing chemicals.

The air coming out of the emissions stack at the site was also below action levels, but the Amphenol Corporation placed a filter on the stack on Friday to eliminate emissions from volatile organic compounds like PCE and TCE.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.