Residents near Midway say windows designed to block noise emit fumes

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Tempers flared Thursday night over problems with soundproof windows installed in homes near Midway Airport.

The windows are designed to block jet noise but some homeowners said they're emitting dangerous fumes that smells like burning plastic.

Residents appeared at a Midway Noise Compatibility Commission meeting about soundproof windows that they say they can smell.

"I want someone to come out and look at my windows because I have that smell and I don't want to keep exposing my child to this," one resident said.

"I am really hoping and praying that is just an annoying odor. That's what I keep telling myself," another resident said.

The windows were installed as part of a city program to block airport noise. Sound Solutions Windows was the contractor. They went out of business three years ago.

The Chicago Department of Aviation has offered to replace the windows if property owners sign a waiver, but some residents fear the possible long-term effects of what they have been breathing in.

"Because if five years down the road my son develops some type of cancer, if I develop some type of respiratory issue, we have signed our rights away, and I'm not going to do that. No way, no how," said Pamela Zidarich, concerned resident.

City officials say they recently learned of the smells from the windows and are looking to hire a company to test them.

The Chicago Department released a statement saying:

"For more than 20 years, the Residential Sound Insulation Program has allowed us to invest in communities to deliver a better indoor sound quality for more than 10,000 homeowners residing near Midway. The CDA is working quickly to replace windows in a small number of homes where odor-emitting windows have been confirmed. In looking into this issue, our inspectors have responded quickly, and have engaged homeowners with a plan to replace windows as quickly as possible. We are committed to an ongoing dialogue with homeowners on this issue to both identify its cause and to ensure the program continues to deliver a better indoor sound quality for all participants."
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